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Quartermaster Corps 

Supply, and Services 

D 114. 7:Q 2/V. 1/995 

The Quarternaster Corps* Organi 

Volume I 






Volume I 

S£p WV ^*R?y 

LT. GEN. EDMUND B. GREGORY, The Quartermaster General During World War II. 


The Technical Services 




Volume I 

Erna Risch 




First Printed 1953— CMH Pub 10-12-1 

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, D.C. 20402 

Kent Roberts Greenfield, General Editor 

James P. Baxter 
President, Williams College 

Henry S. Commager 
Columbia University 

Douglas S. Freeman 
Richmond News Leader 

Pendleton Herring 
Social Science Research Council 

John D. Hicks 
University of California 

Advisory Committee 

William T. Hutchinson 
University of Chicago 

S. L. A. Marshall 
Detroit News 

E. Dwight Salmon 
Amherst College 

Col. Thomas D. Stamps 
United States Military Academy 

Charles S. Sydnor 
Duke University 

Charles H. Taylor 
Harvard University 

Office of the Chief of Military History 
Maj. Gen. Orlando Ward, Chief 

Chief Historian Kent Roberts Greenfield 

Chief, War Histories Division Col. George G. O'Connor 

Chief, Editorial and Publication Division Col. B. A. Day 

Chief, Editorial Branch Joseph R. Friedman 

Chief, Cartographic Branch Wsevolod AglaimofT 

Chief, Photographic Branch Maj. A. T Lawry 

. . . to Those Who Served 


This volume is the first in a series which will record the experiences of the Quarter- 
master Corps in World War II. It should serve to impress students of military affairs, 
particularly those in staff and command positions, with the vastness and complexity of 
the activity involved in equipping and maintaining troops in the field. It tells a story of 
rapid expansion to meet the needs of a growing Army, of organizational readjustment in 
the midst of operations, of supply programs scrapped or modified in the face of unex- 
pected demands, of improvisation and production under pressure when plans were 
inadequate or lacking. It clearly demonstrates the necessity in time of peace for a flexible 
organization, vision and care in planning, and a program of continuous military research 
and development to meet the sudden impact of war. 

Washington, D. C. Maj. Gen., U. S. A. 

1 5 March 1952 Chief of Military History 

Note on the History of 
the Quartermaster Corps 

This is the first volume of a group of four narrating the operation of the Quarter- 
master Corps in World War II. Organization, Supply, and Services, Volume I, and its com- 
panion volume of the same title, Volume II, analyze activities in the zone of interior. 
Two other volumes, in preparation, describe Quartermaster operations in the war against 
Germany and the war against Japan. 

Primarily this volume relates the story of Quartermaster supply during World War 
II, a phase of the broader subject of military supply which has been much neglected in 
the past in favor of the more colorful and dramatic combat history. As the main function 
of the Corps, supply operations included the development of Quartermaster items, the 
estimation of requirements, the procurement of clothing, equipment, subsistence, and 
general supplies, and their storage and distribution. These aspects of the supply process 
are analyzed in this volume and set against the background of organizational changes in 
the Office of The Quartermaster General and in the field. 

The author, Dr. Erna Risch, received her Ph. D. degree from the University of 
Chicago. After extensive teaching experience, she joined the staff of the Historical Sec- 
tion, Office of The Quartermaster General, in 1943. She has prepared a number of 
historical studies that have been published by the Quartermaster Corps, in addition to 
writing the present volume. 

Washington, D. C. Chief, Historical Section 

1 January 1952 Office of The Quartermaster General 


Some three centuries ago Lion Gardener, in his Relation of the Pequot Warres, sagely 
observed that "war is like a three-footed Stool, want one foot and down comes all; and 
these three feet are men, victuals, and munitions." Nevertheless, until quite recently, 
military history has almost completely neglected problems of supply. The allocation of 
volumes for the series, UNITED STATES ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, promises a 
more balanced approach to the subject. There has been a generous assignment of volumes 
to the supply agencies of the Army, and among these are four covering the activities of 
the Quartermaster Corps. Two of these, of which the present volume is the first, will be 
devoted to operations of the Corps in the zone of interior. 

One of the oldest of all War Department agencies, the Quartermaster Corps, in spite 
of the loss of some of its traditional functions, remained throughout World War II one 
of the most important of the supply, or technical, services. In addition to its main mission 
of supplying broad categories of items needed by the Army, the Corps had, in the course 
of its long existence, become responsible for a variety of services to troops in the field. 
The multiplicity of its activities made a chronological treatment of the war period prac- 
tically impossible. It was considered more advantageous to project a narrative which 
would first develop completely the supply operation of the Corps as its major function, 
then analyze personnel and training problems, and finally discuss the special services 
performed by the Corps for the Army. 

This volume begins but does not complete the analysis of Quartermaster supply, 
which is envisaged in broad terms as a continuous process starting with the development 
of military items and moving through the estimating of requirements, the procurement 
of supplies, their storage and distribution, the reclamation and salvage of items to ease 
supply, and the final process of industrial demobilization. This approach permitted a 
functional treatment, although not all activities— notably the supply of subsistence and 
of fuels and lubricants— were organized functionally in the Office of The Quartermaster 
General. Within the limits of each function a chronological development is followed. 

A history of Quartermaster activities in World War II could not begin with the attack 
on Pearl Harbor nor even with the declaration of the national emergency in 1939, for 
many of the Corps' policies were rooted in the years immediately following World War I. 
Primary emphasis is placed upon developments after December 1941, but, in summary 
at least, the period covered extends from 1920 to August 1945. 

The historical program initiated by the Historical Section of the Office of The 
Quartermaster General in the summer of 1942 laid the groundwork for a thorough and 
detailed analysis of the supply function of the Corps. A vast amount of source material 
was examined and selections were, for the most part, photostated currently with the oper- 
ations being described and analyzed in the monographic series published by the 
Historical Section during the war years. This collection of material and published mono- 
graphs, as well as the historical reports and monographs from historical units established 
at Quartermaster field installations and supervised by the Historical Section, provided an 
invaluable body of material for the more general treatment of supply in this volume. It 
was supplemented by additional research to provide more continuous coverage of the 
supply program of the Corps. 


Limitation of time has precluded any search into the records of other governmental 
agencies with which the Quartermaster Corps co-operated during the war, as, for 
example, the War Production Board. As a rule, however, sufficient interdepartmental cor- 
respondence has been available in Quartermaster files to permit objective treatment. 

Over- all supply of the Army was directed and co-ordinated by the Services of Supply, 
later renamed the Army Service Forces as a result of the reorganization of the War 
Department in March 1942. While relationships with this higher echelon have been ex- 
plored, the point of view throughout this volume remains that of the Quartermaster 

The material obtained from the official records maintained in the central files of the 
Office of The Quartermaster General has been supplemented by a wide use of interviews. 
Operating personnel were interviewed during the war years as a means of eking out the 
written record, which in many instances was meager, since transactions frequently were 
completed by telephone, and transcriptions of such conversations were not necessarily 
available. Correspondence and interviews, in the years since the war ended, with some of 
the directors of Quartermaster wartime operations have also added to the record. The 
memories of these directors may not always be precise as to their motives in a given 
action or with regard to the exact sequence of events. With due allowances made, their 
comments were nevertheless fruitful in directing research into neglected areas, or in 
providing explanations nowhere else obtainable. 

This volume was circulated in manuscript form before final editing and was greatly 
benefited by the frank criticism accorded it by the wartime directors of the principal 
divisions concerned with supply in the Office of The Quartermaster General and their 
key operators. They were most generous in reading relevant portions of the text and in 
commenting by letter or in personal interviews. These comments enabled the author to 
correct errors of fact, to include developments that had been inadvertently omitted, and 
to make such revisions as were warranted by re-examination of the record in the light of 
the criticism offered. 

Throughout the preparation of this volume the author could and did rely heavily 
upon the scholarly advice and assistance offered by the Chief of the Historical Section, 
Dr. Thomas M. Pitkin. Under his general direction work has been in progress since 1947 
not only on this volume and its companion, which cover Quartermaster activities in the 
zone of interior, but also on two volumes dealing with Quartermaster overseas opera- 
tions. Throughout the years of her association with the program, the author has also 
been indebted to her colleagues for their unfailing co-operation and help with problems 
relevant to their specialized fields. No acknowledgment would be complete without a 
large vote of thanks to the assistants who toiled in the central and storage files of the 

Thanks are also due the Editorial and Photographic Sections, Office of the Chief of 
Military History. Final editing of the volume was carried out by Mr. W Brooks Phillips, 
senior editor, assisted by Mrs. Loretto Stevens. Miss Margaret E. Tackley, photographic 
editor, was most helpful in selecting the photographs and preparing them for the printer. 

Washington, D. C. 

1 January 1952 ERNA RISCH 


The U.S. Army Center of Military History 

The Center of Military History prepares and publishes histories as required by the U.S. 
Army. It coordinates Army historical matters, including historical properties, and supervises 
the Army museum system. It also maintains liaison with public and private agencies and in- 
dividuals to stimulate interest and study in the field of military history. The Center is located 
at 1099 14th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005-3402. 


Part One: Administration 

Chapter Page 


Historical Background 3 

Status of QMC in 1939 7 

Effect of World War II 7 


Expansion of the Organisation 11 

Transfer of Functions 16 

General Reorganisation after Pearl Harbor 22 

Problems of Adjustment Under Office Order 84 26 

Readjustments in 1942 28 

Evolution of Functional-Commodity-Type Organisation, 1943-45 34 

Field Organisation 38 

Relations with Other Agencies 45 

Part Two : Supply 


Influence of World War I Surplus Property 52 

Lack of Integrated Research Program 54 

Financial Restrictions 55 

Influence of Procurement Planning 56 

Impact of Global War 57 

Effect of Materials Shortages on Design 58 


Organisation for Product Development 75 

Development and Standardisation Procedure 86 

Winter Combat Clothing 88 

Summer Combat Clothing 97 

Jungle Combat Clothing 99 

Combat Headgear 101 

Combat Footgear 102 

Clothing for Women in the Army 110 

Textile and Leather Problems 117 

Summary 121 

Chapter Page 



Personal Equipment 123 

Organisational Equipment 138 

Summary 172 


Administrative Background 175 

The Development of Special Rations 177 

Development of Components of A and B Rations 192 

Development of Packaging and Packing 201 

Summary 206 



Administrative Background 209 

Theory of Forecasting Requirements 212 

Elements in the Determination of Requirements 212 

Evolution of the Army Supply Program 221 

Quartermaster Contributions to Improved Techniques 224 

Development of Supply Control System 226 

Computation of Task Force Requirements 229 

Overseas Requirements Tables 230 

Subsistence Requirements 231 

Elements in Subsistence Forecasting 233 

Petroleum Requirements 238 

Summary 242 


The Quartermaster Supply System in 1939 243 

War Procurement Plans 246 

Developments in Procurement Organization 247 

Expansion of Centralized Procurement 249 

Experimentation with Decentralized Procurement Operations 251 

Streamlining Procurement Methods 252 

Contract Placement Policies and Problems 265 

Special Procurement Responsibilities 279 


Organization for Production Control 283 

Causes of Contract Delinquency 285 

Expediting Efforts of Contractors and Depots 287 

Flow of Materials and Equipment 288 

Production Planning and Scheduling 301 

Other Aids for Expediting Production 303 

Inspection of Quartermaster Procurements 308 


Chapter Page 


Administrative Background 323 

Depot Storage Operations 326 

Expansion of Depot Storage Facilities 329 

Use of Commercial Storage Space 334 

Space Control 342 

Materials Handling 347 

Packing Operations 355 


Supply Administration Prior to 1942 360 

Establishment of New Methods of Stock Control 364 

Stock Control System in Operation 372 

Administrative Developments 376 

Excess Stocks 379 

Disposal of Surplus Property 384 



INDEX 400 



1. The Quartermaster Corps in the War Department: 1941 13 

2. The Quartermaster Corps in the War Department: March 1942 25 

3. Office of The Quartermaster General : 31 July 1942 32 

4. Office of The Quartermaster General : 15 July 1944 37 

5. Research and Development Branch, OQMG: 16 June 1944 78 

6. Quartermaster Board Shoe Test Track 82 

7. Quartermaster Board Combat Course (1,700 Feet) 83 

8. Principal Changes in K Ration Components 187 

9. Supply Pipeline (Quartermaster Items) 220 

10. Quartermaster Corps Depot System : 1939 331 

11. Quartermaster Corps Depot System: 1 December 1944 335 


Lt. Gen. Edmund B. Gregory Frontispiece 

Service Uniforms of 1918 and 1941 89 

Utilization of the Layering Principle 91 


Field Jacket M-1943 92 

Combat Uniform with Hood 93 

Footwear Developed by the Quartermaster Corps 105 

Shoepacs and Wool Ski Socks 108 

The Original WAAC Uniform 112 

Army Nurse Corps Uniforms 114 

Nurse's Seersucker Uniform 115 

Jungle Pack 125 

Barracks Bag 128 

Duffel Bag i 129 

Intrenching Shovel M-1943 135 

Combination Intrenching Tool 137 

Filling Blitz Cans from Railroad Tank Car 145 

Field Range M-1937 147 

Gasoline Cooking Stoves 148 

Small Detachment Cooking Outfit 152 

20-Man Cooking Outfit 153 

Army Field Bake Oven No. 1 154 

Portable Repair Units 162 

Ten-in-One Army Field Ration 190 

Dehydrated Food Products 198 

Fork-Lift Truck 348 

All illustrations in this volume are from U. S. Department of Defense files. 



Historical Background 

The Quartermaster Corps (QMC) is one of 
the oldest supply agencies of the War Depart- 
ment. Its origin can be traced to 16 June 1775, 
when the Continental Congress passed a reso- 
lution providing "that there be one quarter 
master general for the grand army, and a deputy, 
under him, for the separate army." ' Known as 
the Quartermaster's Department during its early 
existence, it suffered many tribulations, includ- 
ing temporary extinction on more than one 
occasion, but the importance of its functions 
compelled its re-establishment. 

The mission of the Quartermaster organiza- 
tion has always been one of broad and varied 
service to combat troops. From Revolutionary 
days it was responsible until recent years for all 
transportation and most construction, as well as 
for the storage and issue of many types of sup- 
plies for the support of armies in the field, 
though at first it did not always procure its own 

In the post-Revolutionary period, when the 
Quartermaster's Department was temporarily 
abolished, the Secretary of War purchased sup- 
plies for the tiny peacetime army through 
civilian contractors. During the twenty years 
and more following the adoption of the Consti- 
tution, procurement of supplies was handled by 
a kaleidoscopic succession of quartermasters, 
contractors, and agents variously named, under 
the direction, sometimes of the Treasury, some- 
times of the War Department. 

The approach of war with England brought 
about the re-establishment of the department 
early in the spring of 1812. : While the Quarter- 
master General was given broad procurement 

responsibilities, being authorized "to purchase 
military stores, camp equipage and other articles 
requisite for the troops, and generally to procure 
and provide means of transport for the army, its 
stores, artillery, and camp equipage," at the 
same time Congress established a Commissary 
General of Purchases whose duty it was "to 
conduct the procuring and providing of all 
arms, military stores, clothing, and generally all 
articles of supply requisite for the military 
service of the United States." 

Under the stress of war the overlapping juris- 
dictions thus created, together with the absence 
of specific provision for a subsistence depart- 
ment, soon brought confusion forcing remedial 
legislation. Congress authorized the Secretary 
of War to define more precisely the responsibil- 
ities of the two agencies. Furthermore, when 
contracting failures occurred and such action 
was deemed expedient by the President, the 
Quartermaster's Department might be author- 
ized to procure and issue subsistence directly in 
the field. 3 

In the overhauling of the supply system that 
followed the War of 1812, the responsibilities 
of the office of the Commissary General of Pur- 
chases were further delimited and reduced. The 
Ordnance Department acquired the right of 
procurement in its own field in 1815. A separate 
Subsistence Department was created under its 
own Commissary General in 1818. Although 
the office of the Commissary General of Pur- 

1 Journals of the Continental Congress, edited by 
Worthington C. Ford et al. (34 vols, Washington: 
GPO, 1904-37), II, 94. 

2 U.S. Statutes at Large, II, 696-99, act approved 28 
Mar 1812. 

' Ibid., II, 816-18, act approved 3 Mar 1813. 


chases remained in existence until 1842, its 
remaining functions were gradually absorbed by 
the Quartermaster's Department. In 1826 the 
Department acquired the additional responsi- 
bility of receiving from the purchasing depart- 
ment and distributing to the Army "all clothing 
and camp and garrison equipage required for 
the use of the troops." By 1842, just before the 
Mexican War, the Quartermaster organization 
had taken over complete responsibility for pro- 
curement and distribution to the field forces of 
all noncombat supplies, except subsistence. 4 

The duties of the Quartermaster General 
were traditionally performed with the Army in 
the field and had been generally considered to 
exist only in time of war. With the appoint- 
ment of Lt. Col. Thomas S. Jesup in 1818, how- 
ever, it was understood that the new Quarter- 
master General would establish his headquarters 
in Washington. Under his guidance the Depart- 
ment emerged as a permanent supply staff 
agency of the Secretary of War. 5 

During the long administration of Quarter- 
master General Jesup, which lasted until the 
summer of I860, central and regional organiza- 
tion and facilities developed slowly. Field facil- 
ities were largely improvised during the early 
years of the country's history, although the im- 
portance of established depots to the movement 
and distribution of supplies over long distances, 
as during the Indian campaigns, was recognized 
on several occasions. In 1842, with the abolition 
of the office of the Commissary General of Pur- 
chases, the Quartermaster's Department ac- 
quired its principal depot, the Schuylkill 
Arsenal. Under the name of the Philadelphia 
Quartermaster Depot, it became the cornerstone 
of the great system of Quartermaster depots. 
There, for more than a hundred years army 
clothing was procured and manufactured in 
peace and war. A system of reserve and field 
depots was established during the Civil War, 6 
and a number of these were retained at its close. 

In a sense, the modern development of the 

Quartermaster organization began during the 
Civil War, with the problems incident to this 
first experience of mobilization and war that 
absorbed a large part of the energy of the nation. 
To supervise and handle the expanding procure- 
ment and distribution operations, among other 
activities, and to direct the efforts of the many 
newly established field installations, a com- 
modity-type organization was eventually estab- 
lished in the Quartermaster General's office 
wherein designated branches handled the pur- 
chase and distribution of one or more specific 
types of supplies provided for the troops. 7 All 
functions expanded enormously in the course 
of the war, and new facilities and programs of 
lasting importance were set up in many fields. 
In 1862, for example, responsibility was as- 
sumed for the management of national ceme- 
teries and the interment of the bodies of war 
dead in these permanent locations. 8 

In the thirty years following the Civil War 
there were no large-scale operations to provide 
incentive for maintaining an alert, progressive 
agency and the Quartermaster's Department 
merely drifted. With the outbreak of the Span- 
ish-American War, however, the Department 
was suddenly called upon to clothe and equip 
more than a quarter of a million men in contrast 
to the peacetime force of only 26,000. Under the 
strain of mobilization, supply broke down. 
Troops were sent to the tropics in winter uni- 
forms, and congestion of men and supplies at 
Port Tampa, the port of embarkation for oper- 

4 Ibid., Ill, 203, act approved 8 Feb 1815. Ibid., Ill, 
426-27, act approved 14 Apr 1818. Ibid., IV, 173-74, 
act approved 18 May 1826. Ibid., V, 513, act approved 
23 Aug 1842. 

5 Thomas M. Pitkin, "Evolution of the Quarter- 
master Corps, 1775-1950," Quartermaster Review, XXX 
(May-June 1950), 104ff. Quartermaster Review is here- 
after cited as QMR. 

6 U.S. Statutes at Large, XIII, 394-98, act approved 
4 Jul 1864. 

7 Ibid., XIII, 394-95. 

8 Ibid., XII, 596, act approved 17 Jul 1862. Ibid., 
XIII, 394-98, act approved 4 Jul 1864. 


ations in Cuba, defied description. The Subsist- 
ence Department, responsible for feeding the 
Army, was equally unprepared for the task con- 
fronting it. 

The investigations and recommendations that 
followed the war resulted in the enactment in 
1912 of legislation 9 consolidating the Army 
Subsistence, Pay, and Quartermaster's Depart- 
ments. Prior to 1912 the Quartermaster's De- 
partment had acquired responsibility for the 
supply of clothing, camp and garrison equip- 
ment, individual equipment, and general sup- 
plies for the Army, the transportation of the 
Army, the handling of construction and real 
estate activities, the operation of utilities at 
camps and stations, and certain miscellaneous 
activities, including the administration of na- 
tional cemeteries. As a result of the merger of 
the three supply organizations, the newly desig- 
nated Quartermaster Corps also acquired re- 
sponsibility for feeding and paying the Army. 
The period from the summer of 1912 to early 
1917 probably was the high-water mark in the 
history of the Corps with respect to the mere 
number of important supply and service func- 
tions for which it had general responsibility 
throughout the War Department. 

Impact of World War I 

When World War I began, the Office of the 
Quartermaster General (OQMG) was still or- 
ganized on a commodity basis. The office con- 
sisted of five divisions— Administrative, Finance 
and Accounting, Construction and Repair, 
Transportation, and Supplies— whose functions 
were largely administrative and supervisory. 
The operations of procurement and distribution 
were decentralized to the field. The actual dis- 
tribution of supplies was accomplished by the 
post and camp quartermasters who submitted 
requisitions to the quartermasters of the terri- 
torial departments into which the country was 
divided for administrative purposes. They, in 

turn, approved and forwarded the requisitions 
to the depot quartermasters who procured, 
stored, and issued supplies on the basis of these 
requisitions. There were seven general depots 
and certain other specialized depots designated 
as points of supply. The procurement of certain 
classes of supplies was centralized in specific 
depots, as, for example, clothing at the Phila- 
delphia Depot and wagons and harness at the 
Jeffersonville Depot. Thus a degree of "cen- 
tralized decentralization" prevailed in this sup- 
ply system. Most of the depots acted independ- 
ently of each other because of the policy of 
decentralization. The purchase of subsistence 
was even more decentralized since it was carried 
on "as near to the points of consumption as was 
consistent with advantage to the Govern- 
ment." 10 

There was nothing wrong with this organiza- 
tion itself, but decentralization of purchase could 
not continue under the economic strain of 
manufacturing for the Allies, for the govern- 
ment, and for the civilian population. Further- 
more, in the absence of effective co-ordination, 
the QMC, as well as every other supply bureau, 
sought to accomplish its task independently of 
all other agencies. In the ensuing competition 
occasioned bv shortages of materials, facilities, 
and transportation, supply difficulties increased 
and the need for a centralized control to direct 
the war effort became evident. 

Moreover, as the Army grew in size, the 
tendency was to multiply the number of sepa- 
rate bureaus to carry out expanded functions. 
Responsibility for construction was transferred 
from the Corps to a new and separate Canton- 
ment Division. Similarly, the duties of water 
transportation were taken over by the Embarka- 
tion Service. 

In an effort to secure greater efficiency and 
co-ordination, the War Department reorganized 

9 Ibid., XXXVII, 591, act approved 24 Aug 1912. 

10 Report of the Quartermaster General to the Secretary 
of War. 1919 (Washington: GPO, 1920), pp. 9-10. 


the supply bureaus. These agencies, including 
the QMC, were temporarily absorbed by the 
General Staff in special divisions that were or- 
ganized along functional lines. At the end of 
the war, the QMC was a part of the Purchase, 
Storage and Traffic Division. 

Once again the shortcomings revealed by war, 
and particularly the failure to plan in advance 
for mobilization, led to the enactment of reme- 
dial legislation. Under one of the provisions of 
the National Defense Act of 1920, the QMC 
was re-established as a separate supply service, 
and the functions of transportation and con- 
struction were restored to the Corps. On the 
other hand, the pay function of the Corps was 
transferred permanently to a separate jurisdic- 
tion. 11 

Administrative Developments, 1920-39 

When the National Defense Act of 1920 
abolished the Purchase, Storage and Traffic Di- 
vision and restored the functions of procure- 
ment, storage, and issue to the supply arms and 
services, the OQMG was again organized along 
commodity lines. 12 The major units of its organ- 
ization were variously known as "services" or as 
"divisions" during the next few years. As the 
office gradually consolidated its many activities 
for peacetime operation, four divisions emerged 
to handle most Quartermaster activities. These 
were the Administrative Division, under which, 
in general, functions of a staff character were 
combined; the Supply Division composed of 
several commodity branches, such as the Sub- 
sistence Branch, the Clothing and Equipage 
Branch, and the General Supplies Branch, 
among others; and the self-contained Construc- 
tion and Transportation Divisions. 13 The func- 
tions of construction and transportation were 
lodged in divisions, each of which was estab- 
lished as an integrated agency with plenary 
operating powers, for it was intended that the 
organization set up in the OQMG should be 

potentially adaptable to the exigencies of a na- 
tional emergency. A ready framework was to 
exist for adaptation and expansion. 

World War I experience with the Purchase, 
Storage and Traffic Division, which had com- 
bined staff and operating functions in the same 
agency, had emphasized the desirability of sepa- 
rating staff agencies, which developed plans and 
policies and specified procedures for their execu- 
tion, from operating units, which carried them 
out. As a consequence, the OQMG in 1920 
sought to place all staff or planning activities 
pertaining to supply in a Control Service. Op- 
erating activities lay within the province of the 
Supply Division. The Control Service exercised 
general administrative, procedural, and func- 
tional supervision. It was charged with formu- 
lating war plans, controlling all fiscal matters, 
preparing statistical data, consolidating require- 
ments, and maintaining liaison with higher 
authority on these matters. Incidentally, during 
the twenties and thirties the OQMG set up 
planning and staff controls as directed by higher 
authority, but the staff units were often skeleton 
or mere paper organizations. 

While the OQMG organization attempted to 
separate staff and operating functions, the les- 
son of World War I was neglected more often 
than not. There was a steady tendency for cur- 
rent operations to absorb staff functions. Within 
a comparatively short time the majority of the 
control functions were delegated to the operat- 
ing branches. 14 This change resulted from the 
developing self-sufficiency of the operating 
agencies and the dwindling of supervisory duties 
and personnel in the OQMG. As a consequence, 
it proved more feasible to lodge staff functions 
in operating branches during a peacetime period 

11 U.S. Statutes at Large, XLI, 766, act approved 4 
Jun 20. 

12 OQMG Cir 11, 28 Jul 20, sub: Orgn of QMC. 

13 OQMG OO 4, 7 Jan 37, sub: Office Orgn. 

14 OQMG Office Memo 119, 30 Aug 21, sub: 
Orgn of OQMG. 


when the scope of Quartermaster activities was 
sharply reduced. 

Congress had been highly critical of the lack 
of planning revealed by World War I, and in 
legislating for national defense in 1920 it had 
created the position of Assistant Secretary of 
War, making him responsible for procurement 
planning and the supervision of the procure- 
ment of all military supplies. Hence The Quar- 
termaster General was under the supervision of 
the Assistant Secretary of War in all these mat- 
ters, while directly responsible to the General 
Staff on all others. During this period the 
OQMG established units with varying names 
to carry on its war-planning functions. For ex- 
ample, it created the War Plans and Training 
Division in the Administrative Service in 1926 
directly as a result of the need for meeting the 
emphasis of the Assistant Secretary of War on 
planning activities. 15 But the inevitable tend- 
ency was to divorce planning for a distant 
emergency from the organization for current 
peacetime operations. This was to have impor- 
tant repercussions in World War II. 

The OQMG organization during these years 
was not disturbed by the participation of the 
QMC in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) 
and other New Deal activities of the thirties. 
The impact was felt primarily at the field instal- 
lations. If it had no important effect on head- 
quarters organization, participation in govern- 
ment relief and other emergency economic 
activities of the period proved an experience of 
tremendous significance in other ways. 16 By 
contributing to the improvement and crystalli- 
zation of operating methods, it undoubtedly 
smoothed the way for the intensification of 
purely military preparations. 

Status of QMC in 1939 

In September 1939, when war began in 
Europe, the QMC was a small supply agency of 
the War Department which had potentialities 

for expansion, in case of an emergency, into a 
large organization. It consisted of less than 
12,000 military personnel and approximately 
37,000 civilians, 17 who trained Quartermaster 
personnel and provided supplies and services for 
an Army of not far from 200,000 men stationed 
at posts, camps, and stations in the United 
States and at such outposts as Alaska, Hawaii, 
and the Panama Canal Zone. These activities 
were accomplished through a Washington head- 
quarters, organized on a commodity basis as it 
had been since Civil War days, through field in- 
stallations, such as depots, engaged in procuring 
and distributing supplies, and through certain 
schools operated by the Corps— the Quarter- 
master School and the Motor Transport School— 
which trained the military personnel needed by 
the QMC. For the most part, the depots were 
located in the eastern half of the United States, 
a significant fact in view of the necessity of 
mounting a war in the Pacific. 

Effect of World War II 

The outbreak of war in Europe was felt at 
once in the United States Army. The presiden- 
tial proclamation of limited emergency increased 
the size of the Army to 227,000 men from the 
210,000 provided by earlier legislative action on 
the Army appropriation bill. The QMC and 
other supply services took this limited increase 
in the military establishment more or less in 
stride. The fall of France in June 1940, however, 
brought a more dramatic enlargement of the 
Army. Congressional action added to the size of 
the Regular Army, the National Guard was in- 
ducted into the Federal service, and Congress 

15 OQMG OO 19, 12 May 26, no sub. 

16 For a summary view of these trends and develop- 
ments see the annual Report of the Secretary of War to 
the President, Fiscal Years 1930-35. 

17 More than half of this civilian personnel was em- 
ployed in the Civilian Conservation Corps, Public 
Works Administration (PWA), and Works Progress 
Administration (WPA) working on QMC projects. 


passed the Selective Service Act in September 
providing for an Army of 1,400,000 men. 18 Be- 
cause of its broad and varied supply responsi- 
bilities, the QMC was greatly and immediately 
affected by this tremendous expansion. 

More than any other supply service, the 
Corps had to anticipate the needs of the Army 
that was to be mobilized by having in readiness 
housing for the troops and the increased 
amounts of supplies needed to clothe, equip, 
and feed them. Such supply was carried out 
through the familiar system of depots which 
procured and distributed supplies requisitioned 
by quartermasters at posts, camps, and stations. 

Purchase responsibility for the basic classes of 
items became even more concentrated than 
heretofore at designated key depots: for exam- 
ple, footwear at the Boston Quartermaster De- 
pot, clothing still at the Philadelphia Depot, 
and tentage at the Jeffersonville Depot. This 
centralized purchase of specialty items by the 
depots was a fundamental feature of the field 
purchasing system that had been developing 
even before World War I. However, co-ordina- 
tion was not neglected as it had been at the 
beginning of World War I, for the Supply Divi- 
sion and later the Procurement Division guided 
and directed these centralized purchase opera- 
tions and acted as the procurement control 
agency of the OQMG. 

Supply of the troops was the primary mission 
of the Corps, and this included the procurement 
of horses and mules and the purchase of auto- 
motive equipment. But the Corps had other 
functions to perform. It operated remount de- 
pots where horses were conditioned and trained, 
and it repaired automotive equipment at its 
motor-transport bases and depots. It built camps, 
hospitals, and other facilities to accommo- 
date the expanding Army; it transported troops; 
and it provided and operated laundries for them. 
By the end of the emergency period it was also 
operating jrepair shops for shoes, clothing, and 
equipment. Furthermore, it continued to be re- 

sponsible for the maintenance of national 
cemeteries and the care of the dead. 

To accomplish these tasks and to meet new 
responsibilities imposed on the Corps during 
the war, the QMC expanded its personnel and 
its organization in the field and in Washington. 
It enlarged its headquarters organization from 
four to thirteen divisions before the war ended. 
Its military personnel increased from less than 
12,000 to more than 500,000. In sharp contrast 
to the continued rise in military personnel dur- 
ing the war, civilian personnel tended to become 
stabilized at about 75,000, after construction and 
transportation functions and the personnel con- 
nected with the execution of these responsibili- 
ties had been transferred from the Corps to 
other agencies early in the war. 

The commodity organization was simply ex- 
panded during the emergency period to handle 
the increased Quartermaster burden. After Pearl 
Harbor, however, more fundamental changes 
occurred. The organization of the OQMG was 
radically shifted from a commodity to a func- 
tional basis. Instead of commodity branches re- 
sponsible for the procurement and distribution 
of specific items of supply, single divisions were 
established which were responsible solely for 
the procurement of most Quartermaster sup- 
plies or for the storage and distribution of them. 
This was a change that occurred in the midst of 
war as a part of the drastic and fundamental re- 
organization of the War Department in March 
1942. As might be expected, it posed many 
problems and entailed numerous adjustments. 

The field organization of the Corps was also 
expanded and altered. During the emergency 
and early war years, the depot system was greatly 
expanded and new facilities were established in 
the south and in the western part of the United 
States to back up the war in the Pacific. The use 

18 (1) Biennial Report of the Chief of Staff of the 
United States Army, July 1, 1939, to June 30, 1941, 
to the Secretary of War (Washington: GPO, 1941), p. 2. 
(2) 54 U.S. Statutes 885-97, act approved 16 Sep 40. 


of dogs in war resulted in the establishment of 
centers for their training. The necessity to co- 
ordinate the military procurement of subsistence 
led to the creation of a nationwide market cen- 
ter system by the QMC. Other new facilities, 
such as repair subdepots and a great expansion 
of Quartermaster repair shops followed from 
the urgent need to conserve materials and de- 
crease the burden placed upon industry for the 
production of new goods. 

Of tremendous significance was the develop- 
ment of Quartermaster laboratories, for in 
World War II as never before an increasing 
emphasis was placed on exploiting and applying 
scientific knowledge and technological skills to 
the problems posed by military supplies. For the 
first time in Quartermaster history, a large and 
integrated research program was directed by the 

OQMG, and results were so impressive that it 
seems unlikely to be omitted from any future 
operations. Instead, the importance of a contin- 
uous program of research in peace as well as in 
war has been underscored. 

Finally the war not only brought far-reaching 
administrative changes and expansion in per- 
sonnel, but it modified supply procedures by 
streamlining procurement methods as well as 
those for storage and distribution. This was a 
war of mechanization and motorization not only 
in the combat areas but in the zone of interior 
as well. The use of IBM machines and teletypes 
speeded supply operations at depots and in the 
OQMG, while the use of fork-lift trucks and 
other mechanical equipment enabled the Corps 
to handle the tremendous volume of tonnage 
required for a global war. 


Administrative Organization 

Traditionally, the OQMG had been organized 
along commodity lines, and the outbreak of war 
in Europe in September 1939 brought no signif- 
icant departure from this basic principle of com- 
modity administration. The OQMG was then 
operating under a simple plan of organization 
which, except for minor variations, had been in 
effect since 1920. Of the four divisions handling 
Quartermaster activities, the Administrative Di- 
vision combined within its province functions 
which were of a staff character. The Supply 
Division, consisting of a number of commodity 
branches, handled the procurement and distri- 
bution of Quartermaster supplies. The functions 
of construction and transportation were vested 
in two self-contained divisions. 

The extended period of the emergency, which 
lasted from the presidential proclamation of 
limited emergency in September 1939 until 7 
December 1941, provided an opportunity for 
orderly administrative development and expan- 
sion. However, the great expansion of Quarter- 
master activity did not begin until mid-1940, 
after the fall of France had increased the appre- 
hensions of the United States and defense prep- 
arations were accelerated. On the eve of that 
expansion the QMC acquired a new Quarter- 
master General, who was to guide its activities 
throughout World War II. Maj. Gen. (later Lt. 
Gen.) Edmund B. Gregory was first appointed 
for a four-year period beginning 1 April 1940, 
and upon the expiration of this term he was re- 
appointed acting The Quartermaster General, 
relinquishing the office on 31 January 1946. 
Having spent the greater part of his thirty-six 

years in the Army in the service of the Corps, 
he brought a well-rounded knowledge to bear 
upon Quartermaster problems. 1 

Expansion of the Organization 

In order to handle its increasing activities, the 
OQMG for the most part multiplied its adminis- 
trative units by expanding sections into branches 
and by separating branches and establishing 
them as independent divisions. Nearly all this 
subdivision occurred within the Administrative 
Division. The one exception was the creation of 
the important Motor Transport Division in the 
summer of 1940 by separating it from the Trans- 
portation Division. 2 Fiscal and personnel activi- 
ties were separated from the Administrative 
Division and given divisional status. 3 Within a 
few weeks, the expansion of numerous activities 
of the Administrative Division was recognized 
by the addition of a Statistical and Public Rela- 
tions Branch and a Storage Control Branch to 
the already existing Production Control, and 
War Plans and Training Branches. All four han- 
dled important planning and staff activities. 4 
By the close of the year the Memorial Branch 
was raised to a division. 5 

More significant than this increase in admin- 
istrative units was the important realignment of 

1 (1) GO 5, 1 May 40, no sub. (2) "The New 
Quartermaster General," QMR, XIX (March-April 
1940), 21ff. 

2 OQMG OO 49, 26 Jul 40, no sub. 
* Ibid. 

4 OQMG OO 71, 24 Aug 40, no sub. 

5 OQMG OO 144, 27 Dec 40, sub: Office Orgn. 



staff and operating phases of Quartermaster or- 
ganization which occurred during this period. 
For example, the activities of the War Plans and 
Training Branch were separated. Its military 
training functions were transferred to the Per- 
sonnel Division. Its planning functions, along 
with the activities of the Contracts and Claims 
Branch of the Supply Division, were vested in 
a new War Procurement and Requirements 
Branch in the Administrative Division. 6 This 
furthered the concentration of planning and 
policy functions on the staff level. Unfortunately 
this development made the Administrative Di- 
vision unwieldy; the need for reorganizing cer- 
tain of its important activities became apparent. 

The most important basic reorganization in 
the OQMG before Pearl Harbor was initiated 
in a series of orders early in 1941. These were 
formalized and integrated later in the year by a 
revision of the basic organizational directive of 
the OQMG. 7 Separation of the Administrative 
Division's functions of administrative service 
from those of policy control constituted the 
most obvious need. Some of the former func- 
tions, namely those pertaining to departmental 
or headquarters activities, had a tendency to 
gravitate toward the executive office; hence a 
separate supervisory Executive Office was estab- 
lished as a formal agency under The Quarter- 
master General. To this office were transferred 
the activities of communications and central 
records, the OQMG library, a welfare service, 
and other miscellaneous office services. Attached 
directly to the Executive Office was an Execu- 
tive Officer for Civilian Conservation Corps 
Affairs, charged with the control and supervision 
of all duties of the Corps pertaining to its par- 
ticipation in CCC matters. An Executive Officer 
for Civilian Personnel Affairs was responsible, 
under the direction and supervision of The 
Quartermaster General, for formulating and ad- 
ministering all policy matters relating to civilian 
employees of the Corps. 8 

The remaining administrative service func- 

tions were retained in the Administrative Divi- 
sion, which was renamed the General Service 
Division. It supervised those services of an 
administrative nature which pertained primarily 
to field activities and handled all administrative 
matters of general concern not assigned else- 
where. 9 In the basic chart 10 drawn to prescribe 
OQMG organization at this time, this division 
and the Executive Office as well as the Fiscal, 
Civilian Personnel, Military Personnel and 
Training, and Planning and Control Divisions 
were placed in theoretically close association in 
a group of "Executive Divisions." 

The establishment of the Planning and Con- 
trol Division early in 1941 resulted from the 
need to co-ordinate basic operating functions 
scattered throughout the commodity branches. 
As problems relating to procurement and other 
functional aspects of supply activity increased 
with the developing emergency, the necessity 
for a control agency became increasingly more 
compelling. After administrative and policy 
phases of control had been separated, the neces- 
sity to consolidate, reorganize, and refine the 
latter phase under a single agency became basic 
in the reorganization of OQMG activities. In 
establishing the Planning and Control Division, 
the procurement control, storage control, and 
war planning and requirements functions of the 
former Administrative Division were transferred 
to it as well as that division's activities in ref- 
erence to statistics, claims, and contracts. In 
addition, the war planning activities of the 
Personnel Division were transferred to it. 

Staff-operating relations between the Planning 
and Control Division and the Supply Division 
during the emergency period developed consid- 

6 OQMG OO 99, 10 Oct 40, no sub. 

7 OQMG OO 25, 3 Feb 41, sub: Office Orgn, and 
Supplements A-G, published from March to Decem- 
ber, covering the organization of most of the separate 

8 OQMG OO 25, 3 Feb 41, sub: Office Orgn. 

9 OQMG OO 14, 23 Jan 41, no sub. 

10 See Chart 1. 






























a - 
g> on 








c 3. 




















erable friction. There were present, of course, 
the normal irritations and difficulties incident to 
expansion of personnel and perfection of organ- 
ization. Furthermore, the personalities and 
policies of certain of the key staff and operating 
officials inevitably played a part, while the re- 
luctance of the operating units to accept direc- 
tion and "interference" was undoubtedly a 
contributing factor. 

As to the general resistance of the operating 
divisions to control, it is significant that a for- 
mal attempt was made to minimize this factor 
through designation of the staff units as "Exec- 
utive Divisions." The chief of the Planning and 
Control Division was intended to have general 
powers of direction over the activities of the 
OQMG, but these were translated with diffi- 
culty into binding orders on procurement, dis- 
tribution, and other activities. The operating 
divisions were encouraged in their independence 
by the relative unfamiliarity of the staff agencies 
with operating problems and their uncertainty 
as to the scope of their jurisdiction and power. 
In any event, commodity branches and divisions 
had long been accustomed to having complete 
and integrated responsibility for their operations. 

Conflict and confusion in policies were even 
more basic causes of the difficulties. These de- 
veloped out of the uncertainties which stemmed 
from the fact that the country was drifting along 
through a period of partial or limited mobiliza- 
tion, whereas the procurement planners had 
based their plans on abrupt and complete indus- 
trial mobilization for war. 

For twenty years following the passage of the 
National Defense Act, the procurement plan- 
ners in the OQMG under the guidance of the 
Assistant Secretary of War had been formulat- 
ing war procurement plans to meet a future 
emergency. Such planning had been separated 
from current peacetime operations in the com- 
modity branches of the Supply Division, and 
it had followed a radically different line from 
that of the operators in the commodity branches 

who were developing a centralized procurement 
system. Regional self-sufficiency and decentral- 
ization of procurement to districts that were 
roughly coterminous with the corps areas con- 
stituted the heart of the procurement plans that 
were drafted. Policies stemming from such a de- 
centralized system were obviously at sharp vari- 
ance with those of centralized operations which 
carried over into the emergency period. The 
planners were further handicapped in carrying 
out their policies since procurement plans were 
intended to be put into effect on an M Day 
(Mobilization Day) which never came. Instead 
a wholly unanticipated, prolonged emergency 
period occurred, with the result that the plans 
were held in abeyance and operating personnel 
met the day-to-day problems by using estab- 
lished peacetime procedures. By the time war 
was declared, the momentum was too great to 
permit a resort to the plans that had been 

Because the emergency period was primarily 
one of procurement effort, administrative ad- 
justments naturally revolved around this activ- 
ity, and staff-operating relationships must be 
considered first jn reference to it. The produc- 
tion control agencies were somewhat intolerant 
of concessions which had to be made as a result 
of the actual course of emergency transition. 
They were opposed to alternative systems and 
methods which negated the economic and in- 
dustrial benefits long planned through con- 
trolled mobilization and production. On the 
other hand, the approach of the current procure- 
ment agencies to this matter was more expedi- 
ent. They recognized the difficulty under the 
circumstances of securing an ideal distribution 
of orders and allocation and full utilization of 
industrial facilities. They were interested pri- 
marily in pushing those policies which seemed 
acceptable and practicable in meeting procure- 
ment objectives." 

Both production and purchasing policies relat- 

' ' See below, Ch. VII. 



ing to selection of contractors and facilities were 
affected by various complex factors— profit and 
competitive motives, business pressures, inde- 
cision on the part of higher planning agencies 
in the government, and other elements which 
tended to interfere with the procedures of mobi- 
lization developed by the procurement planners. 
The latter had formulated programs for allocat- 
ing contracts to industrial facilities, but depot 
personnel ignored their advice in carrying out 
current operations. Most depot officers and 
many officers in the Supply Division were also 
extremely timorous about abandoning peace- 
time purchasing policies and adopting the 
method of negotiation advocated by the plan- 
ners. The Supply Division, for the most part, 
pursued a legalistic and hesitant approach to 
emergency purchasing and production. Com- 
modity organizations on all levels resisted or re- 
sented the pressure exerted by the staff units for 
the application of new and more radical policies 
and methods. 

Such differences probably acted as the great- 
est single deterrent to extension and perfection 
of administrative controls on the part of the 
staff agencies of the Planning and Control Divi- 
sion. But while the heritage of a ready-made set 
of controls would have been of inestimable 
value after Pearl Harbor, it must be emphasized 
that relatively loose supervision could be toler- 
ated before that time. Insofar as the supervision 
of procurement policies by the Planning and 
Control Division was concerned, the situation 
could even be rationalized as consisting merely 
of a necessary, if troublesome, stage in the proc- 
ess of transition to war. 

Considerations of administrative control and 
orientation were highly interdependent in all 
phases of procurement. One more illustration 
emphasizes this point. There was considerable 
pressure for expediting procurement, but pro- 
duction scheduling could still be viewed pri- 
marily as a fiscal matter and accomplished in the 
course of distributing appropriations and funds. 

The need had not yet developed for tight sched- 
uling and therefore for welding the computation 
of requirements, based on distribution and other 
field data, and the issuance of procurement di- 
rectives into a single, co-ordinated process. 
OQMG staff-operating conflicts over this phase 
of procurement control, however, were already 

If administrative adjustments thus far had 
centered particularly on procurement activities, 
developments were looming nonetheless in 
other fields, especially with respect to the dis- 
tribution of supplies. The former Storage Con- 
trol Branch of the Administrative Division had 
remained for a time with the Planning and 
Control Division, but by May 1941 it was 
transferred to the Executive Office as a staff unit 
and renamed the Depot Division. 12 This divi- 
sion functioned as the agency dealing with 
Quartermaster depots and Quartermaster sec- 
tions of general depots on all general matters of 
depot administration in which the various 
OQMG divisions had an interest. It also served 
as the supply agency for warehouse equipment 
of all kinds, kept records bearing on the alloca- 
tion and utilization of storage space, and initi- 
ated the procurement and training of personnel 
to meet the requirements of new depots. In the 
summer of 1941 Quartermaster depots and 
Quartermaster sections of general depots tended 
to operate as separate autonomies rather than as 
parts of the depot system. Each installation was 
using various methods and systems for doing 
business with little regard for the existence of 
similar supply organizations. It was the mission 
of the Depot Division to standardize and co- 
ordinate the activities of these installations and 
to insure the efficient operation of the individ- 
ual depot. 13 

12 (1) OQMG OO 25A, 24 Mar 41, no sub. (2) 
OQMG OO 92, 14 May 41, no sub. 

13 (1) Chief of Depot Opns Div to Exec Off, S&D 
Sv, 28 Jul 42, sub: Material to be Included in Annual 
Rpt of SW. (2) See below, Ch. IX, passim, for elabora- 
tion of activities. 



A weakness in the position of the Depot 
Division lay partly in the looseness of its re- 
sponsibility for the administrative servicing and 
planning on the field level of a variety of activi- 
ties for which other divisions often claimed pri- 
mary responsibility. It was enjoined specifically 
from interfering with the "prerogatives of 
Chiefs of Operating Divisions" in supervising 
the procurement, storage, and issue of supplies. 
At the same time it was made the main channel 
of contact with the depots on those matters of 
administration in which it dealt, a function nor- 
mally assigned to an operating agency at head- 
quarters. Because it was difficult to distinguish 
activities of general concern from those which 
were prerogatives of the operating units, there 
was ample ground for friction to develop with 
the commodity branches of the Supply Division. 

As in the case of procurement, so in distribu- 
tion there was no need during these months for 
rigid control. Just as the tight scheduling of re- 
quirements depended upon influences develop- 
ing later in the war, so inventory and stock 
control were hardly required at this time, and 
the Depot Division concerned itself, insofar as 
its administrative functions were involved, only 
with standard organization and procedures in 
depots. The placing of stock accounting and re- 
porting activities on a machine basis in 1941, 
however, superseding the old manual system, 
presaged the emergence of control problems as 
well as the need for functional realignment of 
distribution activities. 14 

Although a number of other changes, includ- 
ing the setting up of a lend-lease agency in the 
OQMG, occurred in the last few months before 
Pearl Harbor, the administrative adjustments 
involved in the staff-operating relationships on 
procurement and distribution constituted the 
main lines of development. In the pre-Pearl 
Harbor period, despite the development of func- 
tional controls and services and a general tend- 
ency to concentrate them in staff units, the 
OQMG remained organized fundamentally on 

the commodity principle. Subject to directions 
from higher authority and to varying degrees of 
functional supervision and aid from agencies 
within the OQMG, each commodity branch 
retained fairly complete responsibility for the 
handling of a group of supply items, from de- 
termining requirements to seeing that such 
items reached points of issue. 

Transfer of Functions 

War was to bring further changes in the ad- 
ministrative organization of the OQMG and in 
the mission assigned to the Corps. Within a 
few months after Pearl Harbor, a number of im- 
portant functions were lost to the QMC. As in 
World War I, construction, transportation, and 
motor transport activities were again either 
transferred to other technical services or estab- 
lished as separate organizations. 


In the case of construction, action to remove 
this function from the QMC was actually begun 
in the fall of 1941 and completed a few days 
before Pearl Harbor. In September the War De- 
partment submitted a bill to the House of 
Representatives, providing for the transfer of 
new construction for the Army and the main- 
tenance and repair of buildings from The 
Quartermaster General to the Chief of Engi- 
neers. To justify this transfer the Secretary of 
War urged that it would eliminate a large 
amount of duplication of effort, cost, and ad- 
ministrative personnel. A more efficient long- 
range program of construction could be set up. 
The proposed bill placed the construction work 
of the War Department under the Corps of 
Engineers because, even in peacetime, with its 
river and harbor and flood-control projects, the 
Corps of Engineers, unlike the QMC, had a 

14 See below, Ch. X. 



large construction program. It was argued that 
it also had a long-established organization to 
handle such work, whereas the organization of 
the QMC for these activities was of much more 
recent creation. Finally, it was urged that the 
construction activities of the War Department 
during the emergency were more closely related 
to the other functions of the Corps of Engineers 
and to the training of combat engineer forces 
than they were to the other functions of the 
QMC. 1 ^ 

The Quartermaster General, General Gregory, 
took exception to the reasons advanced for this 
transfer. He observed that if housing for the 
Civilian Conservation Corps were included the 
Quartermaster expenditures for construction for 
the past ten years would be larger than those of 
the Engineer Corps. This program had been 
carried out in an economical and satisfactory 
manner. Moreover, a small, continuous, perma- 
nent housing construction program had been 
handled by the Construction Division, OQMG. 
In any case, neither the peacetime construction 
program of the Corps of Engineers nor that of 
the QMC was comparable to the load of con- 
struction in an emergency. In addition, the type 
of work done by the Engineer Corps was quite 
different from that involved in the construction 
of troop housing. Except for a period during 
World War I when a separate Construction Di- 
vision was formed, the QMC had handled con- 
struction at military posts for more than one 
hundred years. In The Quartermaster General's 
opinion the training of combat engineering 
forces had very little in common with the con- 
struction work involved in the zone of interior. 
He objected to the transfer of maintenance ac- 
tivities and the repair of buildings and utilities, 
for these were intimately involved with the 
functions of the Corps at all military posts. 

In short, the Quartermaster Corps is already on 
the job. It is in intimate touch with every phase of 
Army life. There is a Quartermaster Officer wher- 
ever a group of soldiers can be found. The Engineer 

Corps, on the other hand, handles specialized work 
usually completely aloof from the rest of the Army 
and entirely out of touch with the day to day life of 
military organizations. 16 

Although The Quartermaster General ob- 
jected to losing the construction function, the 
War Department and the Construction Divi- 
sion, OQMG, had been much criticized by the 
Truman Committee for the excessive cost of the 
construction program for camps and canton- 
ments. The committee had recommended that 
the Secretary of War be granted authority to 
assign additional construction work to the 
Corps of Engineers. Air Corps construction had 
already been assigned to the Engineers by 
Congress in 1940. 17 

Under these circumstances there was little 
doubt that the bill offered by the Secretary of 
War would be enacted into law. The Quarter- 
master General was therefore directed to col- 
laborate with the Chief of Engineers in develop- 
ing a plan for the transfer of construction 
activities. Such a plan was submitted in 
November. 18 On 1 December 1941 Congress 
passed the law transferring construction, real 
estate, and repairs and utilities activities to the 
Corps of Engineers, a transfer that was made 
effective on 16 December 1941. 19 

The QMC had borne the major burden of 
construction during the emergency period. 
Although it had been very critical of this pro- 
gram, the Truman Committee observed: 

15 Ltr, Robert P. Patterson, Actg SW, to Speaker of 
HR, 2 Sep 41, no sub. 

16 Memo, TQMG for CofS, 4 Sep 41, no sub. 

17 S Rpt 480, Part 2, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, "Camp 
and Cantonment Investigation," p. 35. 

18 (1) Ltr, TAG to TQMG, 21 Oct 41, sub: Trans- 
fer of Const Activities from QMC to CE, AG 600.12 
(10-20-41) MO-D. (2) Ltr, TQMG and CofEngrs 
to TAG, 10 Nov 41, same sub. (3) Memo, ACofS for 
CofS, 19 Nov 41, sub: Transfer of Const and Real 
Estate Activities from QMC to CE. 

19 (1) 66 U.S. Statutes 787-88. (2) Ltr, TAG to 
TQMG, 3 Dec 41, sub: Transfer of Const Activities 
from QMC to CE, AG 600.12 (11-10-41) MO-D. 



By making such criticism the committee does 
not wish to detract in any way from the very im- 
portant fact that housing, training, and recreational 
facilities for 1,216,459 men were provided in the 
space of a few short months and in most instances 
were finished and ready for occupancy before the 
troops arrived. The Construction Division of the 
Quartermaster General's Office supervised the con- 
struction of projects which . . . due to their size 
and the necessity of speed, presented some of the 
greatest problems ever encountered by any con- 
struction agency in this country and the facilities 
so provided are better than the troop facilities 
possessed by any other country. Adequate provi- 
sion has been made for the comfort and health of 
the soldiers. Furthermore, the facilities are better 
than those provided for the troops in the last 
World War. 20 


Three months after the transfer of construc- 
tion, as part of the general reorganization of the 
Army in March 1942, responsibility for trans- 
portation and traffic control was centralized in 
the Services of Supply (SOS), and the Trans- 
portation Division, OQMG, was separated 
from that office. 21 In the years since 1920, when 
Congress by legislative action had returned 
transportation activities to the QMC despite 
recommendations for the establishment of a 
permanent transportation corps, decentralized 
operating responsibilities had developed. The 
Quartermaster General was responsible for the 
movement of troops and supplies by common 
carriers in the zone of interior and by Army 
transports and commercial vessels between the 
United States and its overseas bases. Command- 
ers of ports of embarkation, however, reported 
directly to the War Department General Staff. 
Their functions in regard to Army transports 
were not clearly differentiated from those of 
The Quartermaster General. The chiefs of other 
supply services maintained separate traffic or- 
ganizations to look after their transportation 
interests such as shipping and procuring agen- 
cies. The Supply Division, G-4, of the General 

Staff exercised over-all supervision of transpor- 
tation activities. 22 

This decentralization was the real weakness 
of the transportation organization. In the period 
of the emergency, when overseas bases were 
being strengthened and transportation difficul- 
ties were multiplying, the Transportation Branch 
of G-4 promoted the co-ordination of Army 
transportation activities. Its activities expanded 
even more rapidly after Pearl Harbor. But this 
co-ordination offered no real solution to the 
problem, which stemmed from the fact that no 
one operating organization was directly respon- 
sible for inland, terminal, and overseas transpor- 
tation. 23 This was provided in March 1942 by 
consolidating all War Department transporta- 
tion and traffic control under SOS. A Transpor- 
tation Division, in charge of a Chief of Trans- 
portation, was established in the SOS. By 31 
July 1942 it emerged as the Transportation 
Corps. 24 

20 (1) S Rpt 480, Part 2, 77th Cong, 1st Sess, 
"Camp and Cantonment Investigation," p. 34. (2) 
This work was done under Lt. Col. Brehon B. Somer- 
vell, Corps of Engineers, who was detailed for duty in 
the QMC and assigned as chief of the Construction 
Division. OQMG OO 130, 11 Dec 40, no sub. (3) 
For a detailed discussion of construction, see Reming- 
ton, Coll, and Fine, Corps of Engineers: Zone of 
Interior Construction, a volume in preparation for the 

21 WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub: WD Reorgn. Three 
commands were established: the Army Ground Forces 
(AGF), the Army Air Forces (AAF), and the SOS, 
renamed a year later the Army Service Forces (ASF). 

22 (1) AR 30-1190, 12 Dec 41, sub: Oversea Mvmt 
of Orgns and Casuals. (2) AR 30-930, 6 Nov 30, sub: 
Trans of Troops. (3) Rpt, 30 Nov 45, sub: Rpt of 

25 Memo, Col T. N. Dillon, OQMG, for Brig Gen 
CofT ASF WW II, pp. 17-18. 

Brehon B. Somervell, ACofS G-4, 4 Feb 42, sub: 
Trans Orgn. 

24 (1) Maj Gen C. P. Gross, CofT, "The Transpor- 
tation Corps— Its Organization and Major Functions," 
QMR, XXIII (January-February 1944), 19ff. (2) 
Chester Wardlow, The Transportation Corps: Respon- 
sibilities, Organization, and Operations (Washington, 
1951), in the series UNITED STATES ARMY IN 



Motor Transport 

The last important change made in Quarter- 
master activities during the war was the transfer 
of motor transport activities in the summer of 
1942. Long before this there had been rumors 
of impending changes. The Under Secretary of 
War was concerned with the problem of utiliz- 
ing industrial capacity to the best advantage. He 
directed John D. Hertz, an authority on motor 
transportation, to make a special study of the 
subject, primarily from the viewpoint of effec- 
tive use and conservation of automotive equip- 
ment already on hand. The scope of this survey 
was restricted to vehicles of Quartermaster re- 
sponsibility, and consequently tanks and other 
combat vehicles, which were procured by the 
Ordnance Department, were excluded from 
consideration in this investigation. The report 
of the Hertz committee, submitted in Novem- 
ber 1941, recommended that one service be 
made completely responsible for all automotive 
maintenance. This control agency was to be 
established in General Headquarters inasmuch 
as the committee had found the activation of a 
Headquarters Motor Transport approved in a 
Table of Organization, 1 November 1940. The 
Hertz report recommended no change in juris- 
diction over procurement of motor equipment. 25 

A month earlier the General Staff had con- 
sidered the reorganization of the armored divi- 
sion, one aspect of which had involved the 
delegation of all third echelon vehicle mainte- 
nance to the divisional ordnance battalion. 26 At 
that time both Ordnance and Quartermaster 
personnel maintained such third echelon activi- 
ties. While acknowledging that this led to 
duplication of overhead, equipment, and effort 
and that this responsibility should rest with one 
agency, The Quartermaster General had urged 
that it be placed with the QMC because about 
two thirds of the 3,300 motor-propelled vehicles 
provided for an armored division were procured 
by the Corps. All but about four hundred of the 

vehicles used commercial-type motors. 27 In 
January 1942 Brig. Gen. Brehon B. Somervell, 
then Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4, informed 
The Quartermaster General that orders were 
being issued to the Army directing the pooling 
of third and fourth echelon shops of the QMC 
and the Ordnance Department. 28 

Many officers of the Motor Transport Divi- 
sion, OQMG, hoped that a separate corps 
would be established. General Somervell also 
favored a separate automotive corps, which 
would be responsible not only for maintenance 
but also for design and procurement of tanks 
and other combat, as well as noncombat, cars. 29 
In an analysis of the Hertz report submitted 
to the Chief of Staff, he emphasized that "the 
reconditioning of the present automotive fleet, 
the proper instruction of the present personnel, 
the provision of the necessary training of main- 
tenance units for the increased automotive fleet 
laid down in the program provide a tremendous 
problem which must be solved within the year 
1942 if our field armies are to wage successful 

25 (1) Ltr, John D. Hertz to Robert P. Patterson, 18 
Nov 41, no sub, enclosing rpt. (2) Memo, USW for 
CofS, 24 Nov 41, sub: Mr. John Hertz, Rpt on Mtr 
Veh Maint. (3) Memo, Hertz for USW, 15 Jan 42, 
sub: Criticisms on Rpt of Mtr Veh Maint. (4) Ltr, 
Hertz et a/., to USW, 28 Jan 42, no sub. 

20 Memo, Brig Gen H. L. Twaddle, ACofS, for 
TQMG, 21 Oct 41, sub: Reorgn of Armd Div. 

27 Memo, TQMG for ACofS G-3, 3 Nov 41, Reorg 
of Armd Div. 

28 Memo, Gen Somervell for TQMG, 17 Jan 42, 
sub: Autmv Tng and Maint. 

29 In a study he prepared to be submitted to the 
Chief of Staff, General Somervell had the assistance of 
Col. R. P. Shugg, Chief of Staff, 3d Armored Division. 
The latter heartily endorsed the Hertz report but rec- 
ommended one change, namely, that command control 
of all automotive equipment be exercised by one au- 
thority. He had long been an advocate of a separate 
motor transport corps. See (1) Ltr, Col Shugg to John 
Hertz, 8 Dec 41, no sub; (2) Ltr, Shugg to Hertz, 18 
Nov 41, no sub, enclosing rpt on Third Army maneu- 
vers, by Shugg, 10 Jun 40; (3) Ltr, Shugg to Hertz, 
9 Dec 41, no sub, enclosing rpt to Gen Somervell 
commenting on Hertz rpt. 



mechanized or motorized warfare." 30 In his 
opinion, however, the existing division of motor 
transport responsibilities among the QMC, the 
Ordnance Department, the Corps of Engineers, 
the corps areas, the General Staff, General 
Headquarters, and the field armies would pre- 
vent the accomplishment of this program. 

Insofar as maintenance was concerned the 
Hertz report had found existing procedures 
clearly defined and adequate for a satisfactory 
maintenance program. This led the Assistant 
Chief of Staff, G-4, to conclude that the fault 
rested in the controls established and the lack 
of attention given to this vital problem by the 
high command. Maintenance companies had 
been authorized months after equipment had 
been put in service, spare parts had not been 
ordered with vehicles, and efforts of The Quar- 
termaster General to create an organization at 
General Headquarters to supervise maintenance 
had been disapproved on the recommendation 
of that agency. The latter's failure to provide 
adequate training had stemmed from the view 
of the Chief of Staff, General Headquarters, that 
"maintenance of modern commercial vehicles 
is not a serious problem, provided sufficient 
spare parts are available promptly." 31 

The Chief of the Armored Force and the Chief 
of Field Artillery were strongly in favor of the 
organization of a separate automotive corps as 
proposed by the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4. 
The advocates of such a separate service urged 
that it would heighten combat efficiency, give 
access to the high command, promote economy 
of material and personnel, and provide a vital- 
ized service with no other interests. In opposi- 
tion was the weight of tradition, of "vested 
rights and privileges." 32 The opponents of a 
separate service objected to reorganization in 
the midst of war, claiming that confusion would 
result even if advantages did accrue at a later 
date. In the opinion of the Under Secretary of 
War the transfer of responsibility for the design 
and procurement of tanks and other combat 

cars from the Ordnance Department to an auto- 
motive corps would be unfortunate. The Dep- 
uty Chief of Staff concurred. He felt that the 
resulting confusion would cause delay in pro- 
curement and development of tanks, self-pro- 
pelled antitank guns and artillery, and other 
automotive equipment of the Ordnance De- 
partment. 33 The Chief of Ordnance and The 
Quartermaster General strongly opposed the 
establishment of a separate automotive corps. 
The idea was discarded for the time being. In- 
stead, both the QMC and the Ordnance Depart- 
ment made efforts to improve their field 
services, and the OQMG strengthened its Motor 
Transport Division. 34 

In May 1942 General Somervell, as Com- 
manding General, SOS, visited the European 
Theater of Operations (ETO). While there he 
became interested in the unified maintenance 
organization of the British Army. Upon his re- 
turn he was more than ever convinced of the 
desirability of combining maintenance for Ord- 
nance and Quartermaster automotive and tank 
equipment under a single head. 

Developments which culminated in the 
transfer of motor transport functions from the 
QMC to the Ordnance Department now moved 
rapidly. On 22 June 1942 General Somervell 
sent a memorandum to Lt. Gen. Dwight D. 
Eisenhower, discussing some of the difficulties 
encountered in World War I because the organ- 
ization of the American Expeditionary Forces 
( AEF) differed from that of the War Depart- 

50 Memo, Gen Somervell for CofS, 7 Jan 42, sub: 
Rpt on Mtr Veh Maint by Mr. John Hertz. 

31 Ibid. 

32 Ibid. 

53 (1) Memo, Robert P. Patterson, USW, for Maj 
Gen R. C. Moore, Deputy CofS, 6 Jan 42, sub: MT. 
(2) Memo, Patterson for Moore, 12 Jan 42, sub: Mtr 
Maint. (3) Memo, Deputy CofS for CofS, 10 Jan 42, 
sub: Mtr Veh Maint. 

34 (1) Memo, Gen Somervell for CofS, 7 Jan 42, 
sub: Rpt on Mtr Veh Maint by Mr. John Hertz. (2) 
Memo, Gen Moore, Deputy CofS, for CofS, 10 Jan 42, 
sub: Mtr Veh Maint. (3) Memo, Moore for USW, 12 
Jan 42, no sub. 



ment. In this connection he asked whether a 
separate motor transport corps, entirely divorced 
from the QMC, were desirable. Within a week 
an affirmative message was received from Gen- 
eral Eisenhower's headquarters. On 3 July SOS 
informed The Quartermaster General that the 
establishment of a separate automotive corps 
was under consideration and invited him to 
submit his views on the matter. 35 

General Gregory vigorously opposed the 
move. He outlined the current duties of the 
Motor Transport Service to show that it was not 
a transportation service but a supply organiza- 
tion which purchased, stored, and distributed 
general-purpose vehicles, parts, and equipment. 
The Army commands were responsible for the 
operation of the vehicles assigned to them. He 
urged that the distinction between the activities 
of the Motor Transport Service and a transpor- 
tation service should not be lost. He asserted 
that the establishment of a separate motor 
transport corps would create many new prob- 

While he conceded that there might be cer- 
tain advantages in creating an automotive corps 
to carry out the functions now performed by the 
QMC, General Gregory declared that it was his 
belief that "the activities involving design, pro- 
curement, storage and distribution, and the 
operation of base shops are now being admin- 
istered and controlled effectively." The proce- 
dures under which these activities were 
operating were understood by all, and constantly 
increasing effectiveness could be expected as 
field commanders came to realize more keenly 
the importance of "strict command supervision 
over the operation and maintenance of motor 
vehicles." He felt that it was inadvisable to 
increase the number of organizations under the 
Commanding General, SOS, and that future im- 
provements in the organization could be made 
within the existing structure as effectively as 
\nder any new organization operating under a 
different name. 

Any change from the present organization, he 
believed, could be justified only if the efficiency 
of the Army as a whole would thereby be in- 
creased, and he could find nothing in the pro- 
posal that promised this result. Furthermore, he 
argued that, if the new corps were created with- 
out change in management and operating 
personnel, the only result would be a change of 
insignia; if personnel were also changed, it 
would mean the elimination of people who had 
worked intensively on motor transport prob- 
lems for the past two years. He concluded with 
the declaration that he did not feel the present 
organization had failed, and therefore he could 
not approve plans to create a separate motor 
transport corps. Two days later, having reflected 
further on the matter, General Gregory sent an- 
other memorandum to the Commanding Gen- 
eral, SOS, emphasizing the duplication of 
overhead that would result from the establish- 
ment of a new service. 36 

Whether the arguments of The Quartermas- 
ter General were persuasive, or whether a coun- 
terproposal was presented to focus attention of 
the SOS elsewhere, interest shifted once more 
from the creation of a separate motor transport 
corps to the transfer of maintenance responsi- 
bility. This had been discussed for some time, 
and there had been occasional talk about con- 
centrating full responsibility for motor procure- 
ment either in the Ordnance Department or the 
QMC. Each service naturally felt that, if pro- 
curement and other responsibilities for motors 
were combined, it should perform the work be- 
cause it was best organized and qualified to do 
so. At any rate, less than a week after General 
Gregory had submitted his second memoran- 
dum opposing creation of a separate motor 

35 (1) Memo, Somervell for Eisenhower, 22 Jun 42, 
no sub. (2) Cable 2398, London to AG WAR, 29 Jun 
42. (3) Memo, Brig Gen W. D. Styer for TQMG, 3 
Jul 42, sub: Creation of a Separate Autmv Corps. 

56 ( 1 ) Memo, Gen Gregory for CG SOS, 6 Jul 42, 
sub: Creation of a Separate Autmv Corps. (2) Memo, 
Gregory for CG SOS, 8 July 42, same sub. 



corps, SOS asked him to submit his reasons for 
believing that the Motor Transport Service 
should not be separated from the QMC and at- 
tached to the Ordnance Department. 

General Gregory called attention to his two 
earlier memoranda on the subject and declared 
that it was his understanding that the principal 
reason for the proposal was "that the Ordnance 
repair activities and the Quartermaster Corps 
repair activities may be combined." This he 
conceded might have some advantages, particu- 
larly in the armored divisions, but in the ordi- 
nary triangular division Quartermaster vehicles 
predominated. Moreover, transfer of the motor 
activities to the Ordnance Department, he felt, 
would result in the establishment at every post 
of another overhead organization, and "confu- 
sion already exists at a great many posts because 
of the change in the Quartermasters' duties." 
This change would add to the confusion. He 
insisted that a change at this time would require 
an undesirable period of adjustment. If, how- 
ever, maintenance of vehicles were to be trans- 
ferred, he advocated that the procurement and 
distribution of motor vehicles be left as a 
function of the QMC. 37 

The arguments of General Gregory did not 
prevail. The desirability of centralizing procure- 
ment as well as maintenance of automotive 
equipment was emphasized by a study being 
made by the Control Division, SOS. It surveyed 
the problems of the Tank and Combat Vehicles 
Division of the Ordnance Department and rec- 
ommended centralization of all tank and auto- 
motive procurement in Detroit, a suggestion 
that was carried out immediately following the 
transfer of motor transport activities. 38 On 17 
July 1942, three days after General Gregory had 
presented his case, Headquarters, SOS, issued an 
order transferring motor transport activities to 
the Ordnance Department. The regulation 
which put the transfer into effect designated 
1 August as the effective date. 39 

Despite the loss of functions to the Corps of 

Engineers, the Transportation Corps, and the 
Ordnance Department, the QMC ranked next 
to the Ordnance Department as the most impor- 
tant procurement service of the ASF. The Quar- 
termaster General remained responsible for the 
procurement, storage, and issue of subsistence, 
petroleum and lubricants, clothing, broad cate- 
gories of equipment, and all general supplies. 
These functions constituted the basis of a mis- 
sion unusually broad for any single operating 
agency and involved many complex administra- 
tive problems. 

General Reorganization After Pearl Harbor 

When the United States entered the war, the 
supply mission of the QMC was administered 
by a headquarters office in Washington, which 
for a short time continued to be organized on a 
commodity basis, and a field organization, the 
most important components of which consisted 
of depots and market centers. The Quartermaster 
General was still under the direct supervision of 
the General Staff and, insofar as procurement 
matters were concerned, the Assistant Secretary 
of War, whose title by this time had been 
changed to Under Secretary of War. Because of 
pressures both within and without the office, 
the OQMG was soon to undergo a general 

Early in March 1942 the War Department 
was reorganized, and as a result the QMC came 
under the direct supervisory control of the 
Commanding General, SOS. Apparently no par- 
ticular change was contemplated, however, in 

37 Memo, Gen Gregory for Brig Gen LeRoy Lutes, 
SOS, 14 Jul 42, sub: Transfer of MT Activities. 

38 Hist Rpt, Hist Sec, Control Div, ASF, History of 
Control Division, ASF, 1942-1945 (Apr 46), p. 53. 
On file in the Office of the Chief of Military History 
(OCMH), Department of the Army. 

39 (1) Ltr, Gen Somervell to TQMG, 17 Jul 42, 
sub: Transfer of Certain Functions and Activities in 
Connection with MT from QMC to Ord Dept. (2) 
WD Cir 245, 24 Jul 42, sub: Transfer of MT Activities. 



the responsibilities and functions of the QMC 
and the other supply arms and services. 40 While 
a change occurred in the top structure of the 
War Department, it did not directly affect the 
internal organization or operations of the sup- 
ply services. Indirectly and powerfully, however, 
the functional organization of the SOS in- 
fluenced the internal organization of the QMC. 

The functional type of organization was dia- 
metrically opposed to the commodity principle. 
Instead of a vertical organization it offered a 
horizontal type wherein one function was as- 
signed to a single unit of that organization. 
Thus, instead of a group of branches in a supply 
division, each concerned with one type of com- 
modity from procurement to issue, a single 
procurement division would purchase all sup- 
plies bought by the agency, while a distribution 
division would distribute and issue such sup- 
plies. Such clear-cut delineation of responsibili- 
ties could be projected in an ideal, theoretical 
organization to prevent overlapping responsi- 
bilities which contributed to confusion and 
delay. In actual practice, however, the OQMG 
never achieved a purely functional organization. 

To anticipate developments within the 
OQMG, the functional principle was frequently 
compromised. Divisions, such as the Subsist- 
ence and the Fuels and Lubricants Divisions, 
were frankly organized on a commodity basis. 
Even within functionally organized divisions, 
branches were established on commodity lines. 
The reorganization within the OQMG after 
Pearl Harbor resulted in the development of a 
hybrid functional-commodity type organization. 
Because of the speed with which the OQMG 
was reorganized, as well as misunderstandings of 
the functional principle, precise definitions of 
the responsibilities of divisions were not estab- 
lished. This resulted in considerable internal 
conflict which was further aggravated by clash- 
ing personalities 

Similarly, in theory, a sharp distinction was 
drawn between staff agencies, which developed 

plans and policies and specified procedures for 
their execution, and operating units, which car- 
ried them out. In the reorganization of the 
OQMG in March 1942, an attempt was made 
to differentiate between staff and operating di- 
visions, but analysis of their functions reveals 
that responsibility for staff functions was often 
vested in operating units so that confusion re- 
sulted. Theory and practice were frequently in 
conflict. Despite the fact that the OQMG was 
undergoing a major reorganization, however, 
the QMC successfully achieved its part in 
mounting the campaign in North Africa in 1942 
and subsequent campaigns. 

The Control Division, SOS, exerted vigorous 
pressure from the beginning to promote a policy 
of conformity in organization throughout the 
supply services, primarily to facilitate control 
and liaison. Since the organization of staff ac- 
tivities immediately under the commanding 
general was logically functional, the main pres- 
sure was designed to force into line with SOS 
organization the activities of the technical head- 
quarters as well as those of regional and field 
organizations. The correlation of functions be- 
tween agencies on the two levels was designed 
to create well-defined channels through which 
SOS instructions on policy and procedure could 
be circulated and enforced, and to make possible 
more effective liaison on functional problems 
between units of the OQMG and the other 
supply services. 

Within the OQMG a control group under 
Col. Harold A. Barnes worked closely with rep- 
resentatives of the Control Division, SOS. 
Several civilian experts who came from com- 
mercial organizations employing the functional 
principle were added about this time to the 
group. In general, they were advocates of 

40 (!) WD Cir 59, 2 Mar 42, sub: WD Reorgn. 
(2) Ltr, CG SOS to Chiefs of All Sup Arms and Svs 
et al., 9 Mar 42, sub: Initial Directive for Orgn of 



immediate and fundamental change in Quarter- 
master organization. 41 

On the other hand, criticism of the functional 
principle was usually voiced by commodity 
operators and executives who naturally defended 
a system to which they were accustomed. But 
the trend of developments was against the con- 
tinuation of a purely commodity organization. 
Other government agencies with which the 
Corps had relations were organized functionally, 
and ease of communication would be promoted 
by a similar organizational arrangement in the 
OQMG. The business world, too, generally 
made use of the functional principle. According 
to The Quartermaster General, the OQMG 
would therefore have been reorganized gradu- 
ally along functional lines even if pressure had 
not been exerted from the SOS. 42 

As a result of these pressures, the OQMG 
suddenly abandoned its traditional commodity- 
type organization. Within three weeks after the 
formation of the SOS, the OQMG was reor- 
ganized on a functional basis. There was little 
time for prolonged discussion. On 26 March 
General Gregory informed his division chiefs of 
the proposed changes and the allocation of office 
space in accordance with a planned move of the 
OQMG to new quarters in Washington. 43 On 
31 March the OQMG issued Office Order 84, 
which became the blueprint for organization and 
responsibilities throughout the war. In the five- 
day interval division chiefs had prepared or- 
ganization charts and functional statements for 
their respective divisions, including each branch 
and section involved. This mass of data was 
turned over to the newly formed administrative 
control staff to be drafted into Office Order 84. 
As a consequence, some matters involving con- 
troversy were included, while others requiring 
further deliberation for their settlement, such as 
the establishment of deputies for administration 
and operations, were omitted. 

The new organization provided for an admin- 
istrative and advisory staff. 44 Under this staff 

were grouped an Administrative Assistant to 
The Quartermaster General and the "staff" di- 
visions of Budget and Accounting, Civilian 
Personnel Affairs, Military Personnel and Train- 
ing, Defense Aid, Inspection, and Organization 
Planning and Control. A seventh staff division, 
General Administrative Services, was mentioned 
only in the specific statement of functions. Ac- 
tivities of this division— the successor to the 
former General Service Division— were not 
fully determined at this time, but most of the 
former activities of the Executive Office were 
shortly transferred to it, making the division 
responsible in general for administrative service 
activities in both the OQMG and the field. 

Six "operating services" were provided for 
under the titles of Military Planning, Produc- 
tion, Procurement, Storage and Distribution, 
Service Installations, and Motor Transport. Ex- 
cept for obscurity on certain matters of common 
interest, the functions of the basic purchasing 
and distributing services were outlined as might 
be expected for services with their general mis- 
sions. The title "Service Installations" was used 
to designate the agency supervising a number of 
special field installations or activities in the 
nature of services to the Army which had long 
been identified with the QMC. Actually it was 
a catch-all agency for this purpose, since it 
handled a group of miscellaneous activities, such 
as remount, memorial, field printing, and laun- 
dry, while at the same time it was a functional 
operating service, administering the activities of 
conservation, reclamation, and salvage, which 
were the final stages in the supply process. The 

41 Based on interviews with a number of the mem- 
bers of this group and upon their points of view as 
later expressed and revealed in documentary evidence. 

42 Interv, OQMG historian with Gen Gregory, 21 
Feb 51. 

43 Memo, TQMG for Chiefs of Proposed Divs & 
Svs, 26 Mar 42, sub: Modification of Orgn, OQMG. 
The quarters referred to were Temporary Buildings "B" 
and "C," in which, together with Temporary Building 
"A," the OQMG remained for the rest of the war. 

44 See Chart 2. 



interrelation of many of these activities, espe- 
cially salvage, with functions of the other basic 
services was to constitute a problem that even- 
tually demanded definition. Divisional super- 
vision of the heterogeneous activities of Service 
Installations was necessarily rather loose and 
was never completely satisfactory. 

Problems of Adjustment Under Office Order 84 

The broad, functional responsibilities of the 
new staff divisions and operating services as 
outlined in Office Order 84 conformed, insofar 
as possible, to those of corresponding staff units. 
Although the statements defining these respon- 
sibilities were relatively clear-cut and distinct, 
they did not agree in all cases with those of 
specific functions allocated to divisions. These, 
in many instances, had been incorporated verba- 
tim from the functional statements submitted 
by officers who were interested in the broadest 
possible statement of their responsibilities. The 
chiefs of many divisional and branch units were 
naturally reluctant to surrender traditional re- 
sponsibilities, yet they were eager to obtain 
others. The resultant overlapping of responsi- 
bilities provided fertile ground for conflict 
because the functional statements could often, 
with justification, be used to prevent the trans- 
fer of activities and personnel or to dispute the 
jurisdiction and policies of other chiefs with 
similar responsibilities. 

Within a few days of the announcement of 
the reorganization it was evident that an im- 
passe existed. Most of the areas of co-operative 
or overlapping responsibility between divisions 
were the subject of protracted discussion, and 
few if any of the suggested transfers of units 
were taking place. By the second week in April 
this situation had progressed to the point where 
The Quartermaster General felt constrained to 
address the directors of the several functional 
agencies, calling attention to the need for full 

co-operation between all units and individuals 
and the necessity for resisting "the tendency to 
build up autonomous organizations" within the 
OQMG. 4, He re-emphasized that the function- 
al plan was in his opinion necessary to "meet 
the organization" of the SOS. The organization 
being installed was by no means perfect and 
would require many adjustments. Such duplica- 
tions of effort as could be tolerated, he added, 
would be mainly "in the nature of a double 
check," as, for example, on the validity of re- 
quirements data. It was several months, how- 
ever, before the problem of extensive duplica- 
tion of activities resulting from the failure to 
transfer and consolidate units came to a head. 

Although General Gregory was well aware of 
the duplications that existed, he preferred to re- 
strain the organization planners in the Organ- 
ization Planning and Control Division who 
were eager to carry out their theories at once 
and eliminate all maladjustments immediately. 
He felt that he had to exercise patience and to 
tolerate duplications in the interest of maintain- 
ing continuity of operations in the Corps, for 
these changes were being made at a time when 
the QMC was under heavy and increasing pres- 
sure to supply the troops. The Quartermaster 
General observed that where two groups were 
vested with the same responsibility, they fre- 
quently prodded each other into action. When 
the opportune moment presented itself, he 
could and did direct the necessary adjustments. 46 

Among the many individual maladjustments 
arising from the wording of Office Order 84 or 
from the organizational alignments created by 
it, the most immediately critical were those 
relating to the organization and conduct of the 
procurement and production functions of the 
Corps. Ambiguities in responsibilities for the 
estimation of requirements, purchasing, and 

45 Memo, TQMG for Dirs of Svs, OQMG, 11 Apr 
42, no sub. 

46 Interv, OQMG historian with Gen Gregory, 21 
Feb 51. 



production controls were typical of the general 
indefiniteness regarding activities of common 
interest to two or more functional units. The 
details of the procurement and production 
organization and purchasing procedure, as well 
as consideration of methods and organization 
for requirements, came immediately under ex- 
amination and criticism. While decisive action 
on requirements was held in abeyance pending 
the development of a need for rigid scheduling 
and control of supply, a number of surveys 
reviewing the Quartermaster procurement or- 
ganization were made by the OQMG, the Con- 
trol Division, SOS, and other government 

Production expediting was one of the areas 
of conflicting jurisdiction. The production-ex- 
pediting functions of the former Production 
Branch in the Planning and Control Division 
were turned over to the Procurement Service 
ostensibly in recognition of the necessity for 
blending this phase of production control with 
the purchasing program. Actually, very few of 
the officials and employees of the Production 
Expediting Section were relinquished when this 
transfer occurred. They remained with the Pro- 
duction Branch and became a part of the Pro- 
duction Service when it was created, in part by 
absorption of most of the Requirements and 
Production Branches of the former Planning 
and Control Division. The Production Service 
therefore had the only sizable and qualified 
group available for expediting duties. It was 
charged with providing a consulting service for 
the Procurement Service on production prob- 
lems. As a result, depot personnel continued to 
call directly upon it for help in solving produc- 
tion problems. There were ample grounds for 
the view of some executives that the Produc- 
tion Service constituted in reality the agency 
responsible for expediting production. There 
was equally good reason for the Procurement 
Service to resent interference with its super- 
vision of field activities and encroachment upon 

what it considered its proper functional sphere 
granted by specific order. 47 

Procurement functions offered another fruit- 
ful source of conflict between the Procurement 
Service and the Storage and Distribution Serv- 
ice. When the old Supply Division was broken 
up as a result of the functional reorganization 
of the OQMG, the purchasing sections of its 
commodity branches formed the basis of the 
newly created Procurement Service. The rem- 
nants of these commodity branches were ab- 
sorbed by the Storage and Distribution Service. 
In addition, the Subsistence Branch of the 
former Supply Division and the Fuel and Util- 
ities Branch of the Executive Office also became 
part of that service. It was only natural that 
resistance to the transfer of procurement activ- 
ities should come from units of the former Sup- 
ply Division lodged in the Storage and Distri- 
bution Service. Office Order 84 made the Pro- 
curement Service responsible for the purchase 
of all supplies for the Quartermaster Corps 
except those for motor transport. A survey in 
the fall of 1942 disclosed, however, that the 
Storage and Distribution Service was still super- 
vising purchase in several major categories, 48 
such as subsistence, and gasoline and lubricants 
purchased under Treasury or Quartermaster 
contracts. 49 

Adjustments between the Procurement Serv- 
ice and the Storage and Distribution Service 
were also hampered by the very broad view of 

47 For elaboration see below, Ch. VIII. 

48 Hist Rpt, Hist Sec, OQMG, to Control Div, SOS, 
Dec 42, Rpt on Administrative Developments, 7 Dec 
41-1 Dec 42. 

49 Although motor transport activities had been 
transferred to Ordnance on 1 August, certain functions 
relating to motor transport supplies were subsequently 
returned to the QMC and assigned to the Storage and 
Distribution Division. Oddly enough the purchase of 
all motor transport supplies was also assigned to the 
Director of Procurement. (1) OQMG OO 25-9, 30 
Sep 42, sub: Reasgmt of QMC Functions. (2) S&D 
Sv O 16, 29 Sep 42, sub: Establishment of Gasoline 
& Oil Br. 



the latter's mission entertained by its director. 
He considered that the service was intended to 
be the real control agency and summarized his 
views as follows: 

The Storage and Distribution Service computes 
the requirements of the Army in Quartermaster items 
and transmits these requirements to the Director 
of the Procurement Service who does the actual 
purchasing. The Storage and Distribution Service 
also furnishes the Director of Procurement with 
the desired distribution of the items to be pur- 
chased. Once the items have been procured and accepted, 
the Procurement Service has no further responsibility. 
From this point on the Storage and Distribution 
Service is responsible for the receipt of these items 
at depots, their storage, classification, and safe- 
guarding, and their subsequent issue to troops. 50 

The computation of requirements and supply 
control furnished still another area of disputed 
jurisdiction. Under Office Order 84 the Storage 
and Distribution Service computed the require- 
ments actually used as the basis of Quarter- 
master procurement. On the other hand, the 
Requirements Division of the Production Serv- 
ice arrived at independent calculations for in- 
clusion in the long-range Army Supply Pro- 
gram, since it was responsible for calculating all 
long-term requirements and translating these 
into terms of raw materials and production 
facilities. The two sets of figures thus derived 
proved mutually unacceptable to the services 
concerned. In effect, the conflict present under 
the earlier OQMG organization, in which there 
had been repeated difficulty in reconciling data 
submitted by the Planning and Control Divi- 
sion with that of the commodity branches, and 
in persuading the staff and operating agencies 
to accept each other's figures, was thus pre- 
served. 51 

Readjustments in 1942 

These maladjustments provoked a re-evalua- 
tion of the basic organization of the OQMG in 
the summer of 1942. The first definite recom- 
mendation for modification of the Quarter- 

master procurement organization was offered 
in May by the Control Division, SOS. At the 
request of The Quartermaster General this divi- 
sion had attempted to appraise the efficacy of 
the reorganization of the OQMG which oc- 
curred in March. For this purpose it employed 
the services of Mr. R. R. Stevens of Mont- 
gomery Ward and Company 52 who proposed 
certain organizational changes. 

His general conclusion was that the reorgan- 
ization had been in the right direction but had 
not gone far enough in co-ordinating related 
activities and in decentralizing procurement 
operations. He asserted that there was no justi- 
fication for the existence of separate Production 
and Procurement Services, since the production 
problem confronting the Corps was a relatively 
minor one. 53 He further recommended that 
planning, production, and the programming of 
requirements be consolidated with the procure- 
ment organization in a supply division and that 
such general planning and controls as were 
needed be placed on a staff basis within that 
organization. Distribution functions were also 
to be included in the proposed supply division 
as were research and developmental activities. 
Actual procurement and distribution was to be 
decentralized to commodity branches in the 
field, the chiefs of which would be in no way 
responsible to the commanding officers of the 
depots but would be responsible to the director 
of the supply division. 

50 Transcript of Speech, Brig Gen F. F. Scowden, 18 
Jun 42, Conf with OP&C Div Staff to Acquaint Mem- 
bers with Pers and Opns of Corps. 

51 (1) Memo, Lawrence I. Peak, OP&C Div, 17 Apr 
42, sub: Comments on OO 84. (2) See below, Ch. VI, 
for elaboration. 

52 A representative of the Procurement and Distri- 
bution Division, SOS, and members of the regular 
staff of the Control Division, SOS, collaborated with 
Mr. Stevens in this study of Quartermaster procure- 
ment organization. 

55 Memo, Col C. F. Robinson for CG SOS, 6 May 
42, no sub, enclosing R. R. Stevens memo, n.d., sub: 
Notes on Suggested Reorgn of OQMG. 



Obviously a large part of these recommenda- 
tions ran counter to Quartermaster experience 
and particularly to the centralized procurement 
system that the Corps had been developing 
since World War I. Although the proposal for 
field commodity branches was not accepted, 
there was nevertheless a trend toward decentral- 
izing procurement. Decentralization was per- 
sistently advocated by the ASF during the war 
and some steps were taken in that direction by 
the Corps. 54 Generally speaking, however, cen- 
tralization remained the characteristic of Quar- 
termaster procurement operations. 

The proposal to unite research and procure- 
ment activities was rejected, although the char- 
acter of Quartermaster research naturally de- 
manded that it be correlated closely with cur- 
rent procurement and industrial management 
activities of the Corps as well as with produc- 
tion planning. During World War I, develop- 
mental activities had been thoroughly sub- 
merged in various commodity branches of the 
office, a mistake that those who were aware of 
the growing importance of research in the 
QMC were determined not to repeat. On the 
other hand, the recommendation to unite pro- 
duction and procurement in one division was 
accepted by the OQMG. 

Immediate action, however, was not taken on 
these matters. In part the delay in settling the 
outline of procurement organization was due to 
consideration of a number of comprehensive 
surveys of procurement administration and 
policies which were being conducted by or in 
conjunction with higher authority. Two of 
these surveys, the so-called Cincinnati and the 
New York Field Surveys, were studies of re- 
gional activities in the areas indicated. Con- 
cerned mainly with integration of War Depart- 
ment procurement operations, they produced 
only incidental observations on the organization 
of purchasing and production in the technical 

In the meantime, the basic steps in Quarter- 

master procurement became the subject of an- 
other study with primary emphasis placed on 
the process rather than the organizational struc- 
ture. It was undertaken during the summer of 
1942 by a representative of the Bureau of the 
Budget, Spencer Piatt, with the aid of members 
of the OQMG and SOS control staffs and did 
make thoroughgoing recommendations directly 
applicable to Quartermaster activities. 5 '' This 
survey undertook a complete analysis of all 
OQMG functions relating to procurement. A 
work-flow study was submitted which showed 
how a commodity item was handled through 
the various stages of work, including product 
development, computation of long-term re- 
quirements, procurement planning (scheduling 
of purchases and production), resources analysis 
(computation of the availability and require- 
ments of raw materials and plant facilities), 
purchasing, and production expediting. Urging 
recognition of their control or staff nature, the 
Piatt Report called for the transfer of all pro- 
duction planning and resources-analysis activ- 
ities either to the Procurement Service as a staff 
branch or to the Military Planning Service. This 
was the only specific proposal for realignment 
of organization growing out of the survey. 

Primarily the Piatt Report was concerned 
with the consolidation of functional activities 
in several important fields relating to procure- 
ment and the adjustment of responsibilities be- 
tween divisions in order to promote better 
control and more effective operations, particu- 
larly in relation to the vital matter of require- 
ments. It recommended that all research and 
developmental work at the OQMG be central- 
ized in the Product Development Branch of the 
Production Service. While Office Order 84 had 

54 See below, Ch. VII. 

s' Chief of OP&C to Dirs of Divs, OQMG, 10 Sep 
42, no sub, with two attachments prepared by survey 
teams, subs: Memo of Recommendations— OQMG 
Procurement, and Memo on Basic QMC Procurement 
Functions. This report is hereafter referred to as the 
Piatt Report. 



placed general functional responsibility for re- 
search in this service, it had failed to provide 
for the transfer to it of the research units estab- 
lished in the commodity branches of the former 
Supply Division. Duplication and conflict re- 
sulted. For example, when the Clothing and 
Equipage Branch was transferred to the Storage 
and Distribution Division, it retained intact its 
own research organization. 56 

The Piatt Report specifically called for the 
transfer of all fiscal activities to the Fiscal Divi- 
sion. Virtually no change in the status of these 
activities had taken place, though a recent order 
had provided for the progressive consolidation 
of the fiscal accounting units under the Fiscal 
Division. It did not touch directly the work of 
the fiscal estimating units in the commodity 
branches though it emphasized that "the Chief 
of the Fiscal Division represents the Quarter- 
master Corps in securing the necessary funds to 
carry out the plans, programs, and operations of 
the Corps." 57 

After noting the reluctance of units of the 
former Supply Division to relinquish their pro- 
curement functions, the Piatt Report recom- 
mended that all purchasing be placed forthwith 
in the Procurement Service. It further recom- 
mended that the Requirements Division take 
over the translation of the supply program into 
monthly requirements and that these be used 
directly by the Procurement Service for pur- 
poses of procurement planning, thereby elimi- 
nating the processing of a separate request or 
"plan" for purchase. It suggested, however, that 
to make the procedure effective the Require- 
ments Division should be encouraged to de- 
velop closer liaison with the Storage and Distri- 
bution Service, thus avoiding the acceptance of 
unrealistic figures. The Piatt Report was em- 
phatic in its insistence that the current separa- 
tion of procurement planning and procurement 
was a definite impediment to proper purchasing 

By the middle of the summer of 1942 it was 

evident that a more or less fundamental reor- 
ganization of OQMG activities was in the 
offing. Among the surveys made, only one 58 
had raised the question of the desirability of re- 
turning to a commodity-type organization. 
When reorganization of the OQMG came up 
for definite consideration in June, the majority 
of the Quartermaster organization planning 
staff was convinced that the functional plan of 
organization was basically sound, but that some 
of the existing functional responsibilities needed 
clarification. 59 The need for developing ade- 
quate co-ordination between the several func- 
tional activities was recognized as imperative, 
for it was clear that the clash of personalities 
and competition for functions among certain of 
the division and branch chiefs was actually im- 
periling the successful execution of the supply 

A further important factor dictating against 
reconsideration of the decision to perfect a func- 
tional system was the determination on the 
part of The Quartermaster General and others 
to merge the activities of motor transport, sub- 
sistence, and other large self-contained com- 
modity units into the functional organization 
or at least subject them to a high degree of 
functional supervision. This determination 
seems to have been due in part to the desire to 
present an integrated Quartermaster organiza 
tion in answer to proposals for the transfer of 
certain functions to other jurisdictions. The 
creation of a separate motor transport service 
was then under consideration and the QMC 
was also confronted at this time by agitation 

56 See below, Ch. III. 

57 OQMG OO 130, 6 Jun 42, sub: Centralization 
of Fiscal Accounting. It was at this time that the name 
of the Budget and Accounting Division was changed 
to Fiscal Division. 

58 Memo, Col Robinson for CG SOS, 6 May 42, no 
sub, enclosing R. R. Stevens memo, n.d., sub: Notes 
on Suggested Reorgn of OQMG. 

59 Transcript of Conf of Key Pers of OP&C with 
OQMG, 18 Jun 42. 



for the assumption of all government food pro- 
curement by the Department of Agriculture. 60 

The arguments for a return to a commodity 
basis were definitely rejected and this form of 
organization was never officially under consid- 
eration again during the remainder of the war 
period. 61 As time went on, the further disad- 
vantage of risking fundamental change in the 
midst of intensified military activities had to be 
considered. The reconsideration of OQMG or- 
ganization begun in May was resolved in favor 
of retention of the functional system. 

The OQMG issued Office Order 184 on 31 
July 1942. It attempted to solve the problems 
that had arisen within the general framework 
of the functional organization established in 
March. It sought first of all to correct the most 
obvious deficiency of the earlier order by recog- 
nizing that the supply planning and control 
functions were in theory as well as in fact 
"staff' in nature. An effort was therefore made 
to group all of the existing activities relating to 
control of supply into a single agency, a new 
Military Planning Division, which was express- 
ly designated a staff agency. 62 This division 
combined the functions of the former Military 
Planning Service and of the Production Service, 
except for a residue transferred to the Procure- 
ment Division. 

Office Order 184 also combined production 
control and procurement. As late as the sum- 
mer of 1942, however, this question had not 
been settled. At a staff conference in June many 
Quartermaster officials urged the continued 
maintenance of production control as a separate 
staff activity rather than its consolidation with 
the purchasing organization. 65 The fact that 
procurement activities were tending to be de- 
centralized more and more to the field ruled 
out their administration by a staff agency. They 
could be handled more appropriately by the 
agency directly supervising depot activities. 
The order therefore transferred the Facilities 
Section and the supervision of the regional pro- 

curement planning districts from the Produc- 
tion Service to the Procurement Division. 
Thereafter technical control and co-ordination 
of field purchasing and production activities re- 
mained a responsibility of the Procurement 
Division. It developed its own production serv- 
ice program, which was not limited to the sur- 
vey of facilities and production expediting but 
included activities in reference to priorities, the 
handling of labor questions, and financial aid 
to contractors, all of which were important in 
overcoming production difficulties. 

One other important change in the reassign- 
ment of functions was made in July. This in- 
volved a more extensive consolidation of pro- 
curement activities than had taken place in 
March. Thus, the responsibility for the procure- 
ment of all pier, warehouse, and materials- 
handling equipment assigned to the Corps was 
vested in the Procurement Division. Its respon- 
sibility for the purchase of all general supplies 
was reaffirmed, and all procurement functions 
of the Service Installations Division were trans- 
ferred to it. Furthermore, it became responsible 
for the procurement of gasoline and lubricants. 
On the other hand, the transfer of all subsist- 
ence procurement to the division as directed by 
the order was never accomplished. 64 

60 Ibid. 

61 Memo, Col E. W. Reilley to Col H. A. Barnes, 
OQMG, 17 Oct 42, enclosing staff memo of Howard 
C. Adams, asst chief of OP&C Div, 10 Oct 42, sub: 
Recommended Changes in Office Layout to Effect 
Closer Co-ordination and Increase Effectiveness. This 
memorandum summarized the attitude of the group 
of administrative specialists on the subject of basic or- 

62 (1) All of the principal subdivisions of the 
OQMG were designated "divisions" by Office Order 
184, the next lower unit being the "branch." This 
was done primarily as a result of instructions received 
from Headquarters, SOS, requiring the use of uniform 
designations of organizational units throughout the 
SOS. Ltr, Gen Styer, SOS, to OQMG, 23 Jul 42, no 
sub. (2) See Chart 3. 

63 Transcript of Conf of Key Pers of OP&C Div 
withTQMG, 18jun 42. 

64 See below, p. 36. 














>■ on 

- c 

2 c 

— c 



and Training 

















Storage and 

































w c 
v "5 

3 > 



C -Z 
O c 












The changes instituted in OQMG organiza- 
tion in the summer of 1942 represented the last 
major reorganization affecting functions during 
the war. Later changes were largely in the na- 
ture of refinement, and administrative planning 
was occupied primarily with improving co-or- 
dination between divisions and creating a better 
organization for management of OQMG activ- 
ities from the top. The functions and respon- 
sibilities of divisions, particularly with reference 
to the co-operative responsibilities of several of 
them in handling specific phases of supply 
activity, were defined more exactly in basic 
office orders in an effort to make lines of au- 
thority clear and to prevent duplication of 
activities and confusion in command relation- 
ships with the field. In addition, the divisions 
in co-operation with the Organization Planning 
and Control Division drafted more specific 
statements of functions. Specific instructions 
were also drawn up, covering basic procedures 
and allocations of responsibility on general and 
special phases of work. Thus, procedures gov- 
erning the co-operative handling of lend-lease 
transactions by the International Division and 
the operating divisions were precisely defined. 
Illustrative of this same trend was the clarifica- 
tion of procedures and the exact allocation of 
responsibilities for handling various phases of 
the Controlled Materials Plan. 6s 

The functional reorganization imposed a se- 
vere burden upon The Quartermaster General, 
in that chiefs of twelve separate divisions were 
reporting directly to him and taking up time he 
needed for more important matters of general 
policy. He solved this problem in the fall of 
1942 by delegating supervisory responsibility to 
two deputies, each with responsibility for di- 
recting and co-ordinating the activities of six 
divisions. 66 Generally speaking, functions of a 
staff character were placed under the Deputy 
Quartermaster General for Administration and 
Management, 67 while those most closely associ- 
ated with actual supply activities came under 

the Deputy Quartermaster General for Supply 
Planning and Operations. 68 

Each Deputy Quartermaster General had 
definite authority to make decisions concerning 
the activities of the divisions under his super- 
vision. However, the Deputy Quartermaster 
General for Administration and Management 
was also given authority to co-ordinate impor- 
tant matters of administration in all echelons by 
the provision that division heads take up with 
him all questions involving administrative ac- 
tivities and personnel requiring the decision of 
The Quartermaster General. 

To help him discharge his responsibilities, a 
small staff of specialists was organized, the 
members of which were designated "Executive 
Assistants to the Deputy Quartermaster Gen- 
eral for Administration and Management." At- 
tached for administrative purposes to the 
Organization Planning and Control Division, 
they were selected particularly for their ability 
to solve problems resulting from the recent 
changes in the organization and distribution of 
functions. For example, the transfer of motor 
transportation to the Ordnance Department on 
1 August 1942 required an expert in this field to 
assist in the redistribution of functions between 
the two agencies. Similarly, relationships be- 
tween the Corps and the newly organized serv- 
ice commands 69 required that an expert be 
appointed to help co-ordinate policies and pro- 
cedures of the OQMG with functions of service 
commands as established by Headquarters, SOS. 
The executive assistants conducted studies and 
investigations of matters assigned to them by 
the Deputy Quartermaster General and prepared 

65 See below, Ch. VIII. 

66 OQMG OO 25-10, 10 Oct 42, sub: Apmt and 
Reasgmt of Key Pers. 

67 OP&C, Gen Admin Svs, Legal, Fiscal, Pers, and 
Mil Tng Divs. 

68 Procurement, S&D, Mil Ping, International, Sv 
Instls, and Insp Divs. 

69 See below, pp. 40-41. 



recommendations for action to insure the proper 
determination, interpretation, and administra- 
tion of new policies and procedures. 

Evolution of Functional-Commodity- Type 
Organization, 1943-45 

Despite the efforts made in 1942 to transform 
the Quartermaster administrative organization 
from a commodity to a functional system, the 
OQMG was never organized along purely func- 
tional lines. Instead it was an organization that 
consisted of both functional and commodity di- 
visions. The commodity divisions handling the 
procurement and distribution of subsistence and 
petroleum products were outstanding excep- 
tions to the general pattern of functional 

Fuels and Lubricants Division 

A commodity unit, ostensibly responsible for 
the procurement, storage, and distribution of 
petroleum supplies, had existed since 1920 with- 
in the Supply Division. While in theory it was 
responsible for the control of petroleum prod- 
ucts, in actual practice such operating divisions 
as Transportation and Construction performed 
almost all petroleum functions except the co- 
ordination of requirements. In March 1942 an 
attempt was made to divide petroleum responsi- 
bilities along functional lines between the Di- 
rector of Procurement and the Director of 
Storage and Distribution. The latter was reluc- 
tant, however, to transfer the Fuel and Heavy 
Equipment Branch, as the unit was then called, 
to the Procurement Division despite the recom- 
mendations of the Organization Planning and 
Control Division in its survey of the problem. 70 
The survey contended that the branch was a 
procuring organization with no storage or dis- 
tribution function. 

Although Office Order 184 lodged responsi- 

bility for the purchase of fuels with the Director 
of Procurement, the petroleum-procurement 
situation remained confused in the fall of 1942. 
The Storage and Distribution Division was is- 
suing directives to the Procurement Division 
for the purchase of petroleum products for task 
forces. All supply services in the SOS, many of 
them in direct competition with one another, 
were procuring various petroleum products. 
The Navy also was purchasing petroleum prod- 
ucts for the Army, and practically all the ports 
of embarkation were individually directing pro- 
curement of petroleum products in which they 
were interested. Such diversity of procurement 
might be permitted in peacetime, but it was not 
feasible when the country was faced by the 
exigencies of wartime markets. 

The necessity for consolidating and centraliz- 
ing petroleum procurement led to the establish- 
ment of a Petroleum Branch in the Procurement 
Division in December 1942. 71 By the following 
summer growing military needs, including un- 
precedented demands for packaged fuels and 
lubricants, resulting from the invasion of North 
Africa, required integrated staff work on the 
part of the services. Petroleum had become so 
important that it aroused the active interest and 
co-operation of the Commanding General, ASF, 
who proceeded to reconstitute the entire Army 
petroleum organization by creating in the 
OQMG a new Fuels and Lubricants Division. 72 
It was a thoroughly integrated commodity or- 
ganization which handled the procurement, 
storage, and issue of petroleum products as well 

70 William A. McCormack to Col G. F. Doriot, 
OQMG, 22 Aug 42, sub: Personal and Confidential 
Rpt on Fuel & Heavy Equip Div. 

71 OQMG OO 25-22, 3 Dec 42, sub: Reasgmt of 
QMC Functions Relating to Petri and Petri Products, 
Fuel Containers and Drums. 

72 (1) OQMG OO 25-37, 29 May 43, sub: Estab- 
lishment of F&L Div. (2) For an analysis of the work 
of this division during the war see Erna Risch, Fuels 
for Global Conflict QMC Historical Studies 9, rev ed 

(Washington, 1952). 



as research and developmental work in reference 
to containers and equipment. Since the Direc- 
tor, Military Planning Division, contended that 
all research on Quartermaster items should be 
concentrated in the Research and Development 
Branch of that division, considerable friction 
developed initially in this field. 73 

The Fuels and Lubricants Division was 
unique in that it not only retained all the oper- 
ating responsibility it had had prior to that time 
as the Petroleum Branch in the OQMG, but it 
also acquired staff activities; that is, with certain 
specified exceptions, The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral became responsible for the performance of 
all staff functions necessary to the discharge of 
the operating responsibilities either assigned or 
subsequently delegated by Headquarters, ASF, 
to the OQMG. 74 In addition, the director of the 
division acted as deputy to the Commanding 
General, ASF, in his capacity as a member of 
the Army-Navy Petroleum Board (ANPB), so 
that in this instance the division operated on 
the level of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

Subsistence Division 

The Subsistence Division constituted another 
exception to the general pattern of functional 
organization. Until 1912 the Commissary Gen- 
eral of Subsistence had always been independent 
of The Quartermaster General. Although the 
Subsistence Department was merged with the 
QMC in that year, its tradition of independence 
lingered. Subsistence had for many years been 
organized as a commodity branch, and its per- 
sonnel insisted that it could function efficiently 
only on a commodity basis. At the time of Pearl 
Harbor it was located in the Supply Division. 
When the OQMG was reorganized function- 
ally, it was transferred intact as a commodity 
branch to the Storage and Distribution Service 
(later Division). It refused to adopt an internal 
organization which would lend itself to the 

functional system, and it resisted all attempts to 
transfer the functions of subsistence procure- 
ment or research to the appropriate functional 
divisions. 75 

In the summer of 1942, for example, respon- 
sibility for the research, development, standard- 
ization, and adaptation of all types of Quarter- 
master equipment, except those utilized for 
petroleum products, was vested in the Research 
and Development Branch of the Military Plan- 
ning Division. Despite this assignment of re- 
sponsibility, subsistence research continued to 
be conducted by the Subsistence Branch and the 
Subsistence Research Laboratory, 76 which was 
formally connected with the OQMG only 
through the commanding officer of the Chicago 
Quartermaster Depot. In the past there had 
been some lack of co-ordination and some du- 
plication of activity, but on the whole the two 
units had worked in harmony and with good 
results. Subsistence research continued to be 
handled by these units until the close of 1942. 

At that time the OQMG attempted to clarify 
this situation by reaffirming the responsibility 
of the Military Planning Division for all re- 
search. 77 This division was responsible there- 
after for assigning projects to, and directing 
the technical activities of, the Subsistence Re- 
search Laboratory. The chief of the laboratory 
remained under the authority of the command- 

73 ( 1 ) Dir of Mil Ping Div to Deputy QMG, 4 Aug 
43, no sub. (2) OQMG OO 25-37B, 25 Aug 43, sub: 
Responsibility for Spec, Design, R&D of Containers 
for Petri Products. (3) OQMG OO 25-70, 25 Mar 44, 
sub: Asgmt of Responsibility for Equip. 

74 (1) ASF Cir 33, 26 May 43, sub: Procurement, 
S&D of Petri Products, Fuels (Liquid and Solid) and 
Lubricants. (2) Rescinded by ASF Cir 151, 15 Dec 43, 
same sub. 

75 Based on intervs, author with Lt Col Cecil G. 
Dunn, Subs Br, 5 Jan 43, and Loyola M. Coyne, Mil 
Ping Div, 6 Jan 43. 

76 See Walter Porges, The Subsistence Research 
Laboratory (OQMG historical monograph, May 1943). 
On file in Hist Sec, OQMG. 

77 OQMG OO 25-24, 14 Dec 42, sub: Subs R&D 



ing general of the Chicago Quartermaster Depot 
with respect to all activities, except those relat- 
ing to the technical aspects of subsistence re- 
search. A Subsistence Research Project Board 
was also created at this time. One of its duties 
was to "initiate projects for research and devel- 
opment on any subject which it deems of bene- 
fit to Army subsistence." The vice chairman and 
one other of the members appointed to this 
board were from the Subsistence Branch. Thus, 
although the actual responsibility for research 
and development in this field rested with the 
Military Planning Division, it was possible for 
the Subsistence Branch through its representa- 
tion on the new board to maintain an active 
interest in subsistence research. 

In pursuance of the functional plan of organ- 
ization, Office Order 184 directed the transfer to 
the Procurement Division of all functions of 
the Subsistence Branch related to procurement 
and all personnel engaged in procurement ac- 
tivities. At the same time, however, the order 
also provided that "no physical movement of 
personnel of the Subsistence Division will be 
made without further approval of The Quarter- 
master General." Several problems were in- 
volved in this projected move. At the outset 
there was the question of the feasibility of split- 
ting purchase from distribution of subsistence. 
The entire operation, at least for perishable 
items, was a highly synchronized one, performed 
through the specialized machinery of the market 
center system. Secondly, the operation was rec- 
ognized as primarily one of commodity procure- 
ment, with distribution accomplished more or 
less incidentally and directly from the markets 
where the food was purchased to using compo- 
nents of the Army, without the use of depot or 
other permanent storage in transit. Certainly 
the projected division of responsibilities would 
have meant the transfer of virtually the entire 
Subsistence Branch organization to the Procure- 
ment Division. Such a transfer had in fact been 
under consideration earlier, but was rejected be- 

cause, in the opinion of The Quartermaster 
General, the move would have been of doubtful 
effectiveness in promoting co-operation among 
personnel within the OQMG. 78 

The major part of Quartermaster activities 
relating to the handling of subsistence in the 
Army and its special problems continued to be 
centralized under the Subsistence Branch of the 
Storage and Distribution Division until the 
summer of 1944. Since subsistence always ac- 
counted for the major portion of Quartermaster 
procurement, the Subsistence Branch was actu- 
ally doing more purchasing than the Procure- 
ment Division. In May the branch was estab- 
lished as a separate division 79 under a director 
who represented The Quartermaster General in 
all interagency contacts pertaining to the pur- 
chase, supply, and preparation of food. He also 
directed all Army programs connected with 
preparation and service of food. Thus the Sub- 
sistence Division continued as a commodity 
organization within the generally functionalized 
organization of the OQMG. 

Creation of the Subsistence Division repre- 
sented the last important modification in the 
organization of the OQMG during the war 
years. From May 1944 until the end of the war 
there were thirteen divisions carrying out the 
duties assigned to the QMC. 80 The pattern of 
commodity-functional organization was set. De- 
bate on the advantage of commodity versus 
functional organization was not reopened after 
the summer of 1942. Earlier conflicts, resulting 
from overlapping responsibilities, had been ad- 
justed by 1944, and the QMC accomplished its 
mission during the remainder of the war period 
with a relatively smooth-functioning, harmoni- 
ous organization. 

78 Transcript of Conf of Key Pers of OP&C Div with 
OQMG, 18jun 42. 

79 OQMG OO 2 5-80, 17 May 44, sub: Establish- 
ment of Subs Div. 

80 See Chart 4. 


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Field Organization 

In 1939 the basic field installations of the 
QMC were the depots, with most Quartermas- 
ter field activities either administered through 
the depots or physically located at these instal- 
lations. Some of the depots were of a specialized 
type known as Remount depots, which condi- 
tioned and provided limited training of animals 
and issued horses and mules to troop units. 81 
The most important depots were those engaged 
in the procurement and distribution of Quarter- 
master supplies. When the emergency began 
there were twelve of these supply depots, but 
some of them were relatively inactive, being 
used almost exclusively to store war reserve and 
other slow moving stocks. They exercised a 
large degree of autonomy in conducting their 
operations, for the OQMG provided little cen- 
tralized control or co-ordination of their activi- 
ties. Instead, each of the commodity branches 
of the Supply Division dealt with the depots, 
making for a multiplicity of contacts between 
depots and the OQMG. 

Depot quartermasters procured and issued 
supplies on the basis of requisitions forwarded 
to them by corps area quartermasters. In 1939 
the United States was divided for administrative 
purposes into nine geographical units called 
corps areas, with The Quartermaster General 
exercising direct supervision over the quarter- 
masters who represented him on the headquar- 
ters staff of the corps area commanders. Quar- 
termaster activities at the posts, camps, and 
stations located in the corps areas were admin- 
istered by the local quartermasters. They requi- 
sitioned and issued supplies needed by the 
troops stationed at the posts and operated for 
them such Quartermaster services as laundries. 
These post, camp, and station quartermasters 
were the operating force of the Corps in the 
field for carrying out its mission of supply and 

Depots were important not only because of 

the role they played in the supply of Quarter- 
master items but because a number of other 
activities were located at these installations. For 
instance, a factory at the Philadelphia Quarter- 
master Depot manufactured Army uniforms. 
Such laboratories as existed at this time were to 
be found at the depots, as, for example, the 
Subsistence Research Laboratory at the Chicago 
Quartermaster Depot. Quartermaster schools 
were also located at depots. Quartermaster per- 
sonnel were trained at the Quartermaster School 
at the Philadelphia Depot and at the Motor 
Transport School located at the Holabird Quar- 
termaster Depot. 82 

The Quartermaster field organization ex- 
panded rapidly during the emergency and war 
periods. New depots were built and old ones 
were expanded. In addition, new staff functions 
were assigned to The Quartermaster General in 
relation to ASF depots. Such administrative 
changes as occurred after 1939 were in the direc- 
tion of increased control and co-ordination of 
the field installations. Field offices for the cen- 
tralized purchase of nonperishable subsistence 
emerged. Even more significant was the substi- 
tution of centralized procurement of perishable 
foods for the decentralized purchase of such 
foods which had been permitted at posts, camps, 
and stations in peacetime. As the Army ex- 
panded during the emergency, this could no 
longer be tolerated, and one of the most impor- 
tant innovations was the creation of new field 
installations called market centers. 

Market Center Program 

The need to co-ordinate food procurement 
for military agencies during the period of emer- 
gency gave rise to the market center program. 

81 For a discussion of their activities see Ch. X of 
The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply, and 
Services, Vol. II, in preparation for this series. 

82 ( 1 ) For the work of the laboratories see Chs. Ill 
and V below. (2) For training at the Quartermaster 
School see Ch. VIII of volume cited above in n. 81. 



The intent was to establish a centralized pro- 
curement organization which could utilize 
speedy commercial methods of purchasing large 
quantities by negotiation and would give posts, 
camps, and stations access to all the nation's 
markets. The program promoted more econom- 
ical and more efficient Army procurement of 
perishable subsistence. 83 The original provision 
for the establishment of market centers was 
made in March 1941 84 and the program was 
under way in May. By 7 December some twenty- 
five to thirty market centers were either planned 
or in operation on a small scale. Approximately 
a year later over forty were in operation, addi- 
tional facilities having been set up from time to 
time to serve new marketing and distribution 
areas or to give more adequate service to the 
original areas. This expansion was necessary not 
only to take care of the increase in personnel of 
the Army but to provide facilities, beginning 
with the spring of 1942, for the procurement 
of most of the perishable supplies for the Navy 
and the Marine Corps. 

The market centers were under the direct 
control of The Quartermaster General. Because 
control could best be handled in a central geo- 
graphical location, the Chicago Market Center, 
which was described as the "Central Office for 
administrative purposes," developed into the 
national supervisory headquarters of the pro- 
gram. By a slow and sometimes painful process, 
clear-cut lines of authority and responsibility 
were worked out eventually between the market 
centers, the Chicago central office, and the 
OQMG. In the summer of 1941 the Chicago 
central office was established as Field Headquar- 
ters, Perishable Subsistence Section, OQMG 8 "' 
Its activities, which were purely administrative 
and supervisory, were differentiated from those 
of the Chicago Quartermaster Market Center, 
an operating agency. The Perishable Section of 
the Subsistence Branch in Washington became 
a liaison office for maintaining contact with the 
Army and government agencies and for inter- 

preting and co-ordinating OQMG policies and 
those of governmental food administrative 
agencies with Field Headquarters and the 
market centers. 86 

Food Service Program 

Another important aspect of subsistence ad- 
ministration was the initiation of the Food 
Service Program. Food conservation had always 
been considered a normal concomitant of Army 
feeding, and numerous rules and regulations 
were aimed at enforcing moderation in the pur- 
chase and preparation of food. In the summer 
of 1941 the QMC contained in undeveloped 
form the essential elements which went into the 
future Food Service Program. One of these was 
the Bakery Section of the Subsistence Branch, 
OQMG, which co-ordinated the training in the 
bakers' and cooks' schools, produced quality 
bread in posts, camps, and stations, and prepared 
a balanced field ration menu. The central head- 
quarters of the market center system and the 
Subsistence Research Laboratory comprised 
other components. The conservation branch of 
the laboratory was later described as having the 
same mission as the Food Service Section of the 
OQMG, except that its work was done before 
the food got to the soldier. Finally, these ele- 
ments included bakers' and cooks' schools (one 
to each service command at that time) which 
were to multiply 700 percent within three years 
but were even then carrying out their appointed 
task of training men for service in the Army 
messes and garrison bakeries. 

The difficulty was that these agencies were 
completely unco-ordinated and insufficiently 

83 For a detailed account of this program see H. R. 
Rifkind, Fresh Foods for the Armed Forces: The Quarter- 
master Market Center System ( QMC Historical Studies 
20, August 1951). 

84 OQMG Cir Ltr 42, 19 Mar 41, sub: Purch of 
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables. 

85 OQMG Cir Ltr 117, 23 Jun 41, no sub. 

86 Memo, Capt L. Morrill for Brig Gen C. A. Har- 
digg, OQMG, 10 Feb 43, sub: Opns of Perishable Sec. 



staffed to accomplish their work to the best pur- 
pose. In the opinion of The Quartermaster 
General the remedy lay in establishing "a sys- 
tem of supervision by trained personnel." n 
This anticipated in many respects the later Food 
Service Program. The problem was to empha- 
size at the posts the need for following proper 
messing procedure, to provide the type of mess 
supervision that would guarantee the enforce- 
ment of such procedure, and to create and or- 
ganize a nationwide conservation program 
which could be administered by a central office. 
The War Department early in 1943 sought to 
bring home to service commanders an increased 
sense of their responsibility for saving and prop- 
erly dispensing food by re-emphasizing food 
preparation and consumption as command func- 
tions. About the same time provision was made 
for the appointment of mess officers at all posts, 
camps, and stations. 88 Thus the groundwork 
was laid for the Food Service Program which 
was initiated in the fall of 1943. 

From the beginning of 1943, as civilian short- 
ages increased, there developed a mounting 
public pressure for food conservation that led 
General Somervell to direct The Quartermaster 
General to establish an organization which 
would assume adequate and proper mess super- 
vision. The OQMG promptly drafted a plan 
whereby it became the staff agency at ASF head- 
quarters level for mess management, thus com- 
pleting the chain of supervision for this 
function throughout the ASF from the mess 
supervisors and commanding officers of posts, 
camps, and stations through the food service di- 
rector at the staff level of the service com- 
mand. 89 The plan replaced the old Bakery Sec- 
tion within the Subsistence Branch with a Food 
Service Section having the power to supervise 
the preparation and service of food, to eliminate 
waste, and to insure adequately trained mess 
supervisors, mess sergeants, and bakers and 
cooks by developing proper material for train- 
ing courses and by inspecting the effectiveness 

of operation of bakers' and cooks' schools. 90 
The Food Service Program was not intended to 
minimize the responsibility of the commanding 
generals of the service commands but rather to 
implement their authority and to co-ordinate all 
food activities throughout the service com- 
mands. It became the business of the field 
agencies to see that the measures, instructions, 
data, and recommendations drawn up in Wash- 
ington were given significance. 

Service Commands 

The service commands were the nine geo- 
graphical units into which the War Department 
divided the continental United States for ad- 
ministrative purposes. Known as corps areas 
before 1942, they were assigned to the SOS in 
March when the Army was reorganized, and ac- 
quired their new name in July as a result of a 
survey conducted by the Control Division, 
SOS. 91 The geographical boundaries of the old 
corps areas were not changed, and the major 
function of the service commands continued to 
be the operation of fixed Army installations. 
They were the principal field agencies for the 
SOS and performed its basic functions, except 
those technical ones relating to procurement, 
new construction, depot operations, and port 
and certain transportation activities. 

The relationship of the service commands to 
the supply services, however, was radically 

8 " Memo, Gen Gregory for CofS G-3, 24 Feb 42, 
sub: Tng and Supervision of Mess Pers. 

88 (1) WD Cir 16, 11 Jan 43, sub: Revised Proce- 
dure for Distr of and Accounting for Fid Rations. (2) 
SOS Memo S-30-3-43, 15 Jan 43, sub: Supervision of 
Messes and Elimination of Waste. 

89 ( 1 )Memo, Gen Somervell for TQMG, 1 Jun 43, 
sub: Mess Supervision. (2) Memo, Gen Gregory for 
CG ASF, 26 Jun 43, sub: QM Food Sv. (3) After ap- 
proval, the plan was published as ASF Cir 45, 3 Jul 
43, sub: Food Sv Program. 

90 OQMG OO 25-24A, 2 Aug 43, sub: Orgn of 
Food Sv Sec. 

91 (1) WD GO 35, 22 Jul 42, no sub. (2) AR 
170-10, 10 Aug 42, sub: SvCs and Depots. 



changed. Under the former corps area setup, the 
supply services exercised direct jurisdiction over 
their representatives on the headquarters staff 
of the corps area commander. Under the new 
arrangements, the service commander had com- 
plete jurisdiction and any instructions from the 
supply services had to go through his office. 
The QMC had a dual function to perform un- 
der this system. It was charged with the per- 
formance of certain technical activities which it 
carried out through field installations of its own 
located in service commands, such as market 
centers, Quartermaster depots, and remount 
areas. In addition to these direct operating re- 
sponsibilities, the QMC had a staff responsi- 
bility to the Commanding General, SOS. 9: In 
this relationship The Quartermaster General 
was in the same position as the director of a 
staff division of Headquarters, SOS. He advised 
the commanding general, issued plans, proce- 
dures, and directives to the service commanders, 
assisted them, and followed up performance 
within their jurisdictions. 

When a function that was the sole responsi- 
bility of the Corps was involved, the staff rela- 
tionship between The Quartermaster General 
and the service commander was clear cut. For 
example, laundry service was a function peculiar 
to the Corps, and the Commanding General, 
SOS, later ASF, looked to The Quartermaster 
General as his staff officer in reference to this 
activity. The same was true of the Food Service 
Program, the staff arrangement of which was 
characterized as "the best working staff arrange- 
ment in the whole ASF." 93 On the other hand, 
where a function common to the technical serv- 
ices was concerned and ASF had a staff division 
to supervise it, the relationship between the 
chief of the technical service and the service 
commander was "pretty hazy." The Quarter- 
master General had staff responsibility, for ex- 
ample, for preparing and recommending proce- 
dues for the use of the service commands with 
respect to the storage, issue, maintenance, and 

salvage of Quartermaster supplies and equip- 
ment. Within Headquarters, ASF, a Mainte- 
nance Division was established because General 
Somervell believed it necessary to have some 
one agency co-ordinate maintenance among the 
seven technical services. Confusion developed 
as to whether the Maintenance Division or The 
Quartermaster General worked with the service 
commander, an issue that in the fall of 1944 led 
one high-ranking officer to remark, "We have 
never quite clearly settled that one." 94 

Even though staff responsibilities were not 
always clearly defined, The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral was responsible for formulating and pub- 
lishing training doctrine and manuals for Quar- 
termaster personnel being trained in the service 
commands. He was also authorized to supervise 
the establishment of installations for repair and 
salvage operations and other service installa- 
tions and to insure by proper inspection the 
operating efficiency of Quartermaster installa- 
tions and of Quartermaster units under the 
service commands. Specific Quartermaster activ- 
ities under the jurisdiction of the service com- 
mands with staff responsibility vested in The 
Quartermaster General included the Food Serv- 
ice Program, laundries and dry cleaning plants, 
Quartermaster repair shops, salvage depots, 
service schools, replacement training centers, 
and cemeteries. 95 


The most important field installations of the 
QMC were the depots, since they constituted 
the backbone of the system of supply and as- 
sured the flexibility of supply operations. An 

92 OQMG OO 185, 5 Aug 42, sub: SvC Reorgn. 

93 Address, Maj Gen C. F. Robinson, sub: Relations 
of Technical Services with Service Commands, QMs' 
Conf, 2-4 Oct 44, Camp Lee, Va. 

94 Ibid. 

95 (1) AR 170-10, 24 Dec 42, sub: SvCs and De- 
pots. (2) AR 30-2135, C3, 12 Jan 43, sub: Laundries. 
(3) AR 30-1840, 9 Oct 44, sub: National Cemeteries. 



efficient, co-ordinated depot system was essen- 
tial to winning the war, but when the United 
States entered World War II, each supply 
service was procuring its supplies and distrib- 
uting them irrespective of other services. The 
depot system consisted of general depots jointly 
occupied by the supply services and branch 
depots operated by each supply service. 

At the beginning of the emergency, storage 
and distribution operations, like other supply 
functions, were loosely co-ordinated under the 
joint direction of the Supply Division, G-i, in 
the War Department General Staff and the 
Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, but in 
practice these two agencies were often played 
off against each other so that the supply services 
were almost as autonomous as they had been in 
1917, when the lack of adequate co-ordination 
had produced unhappy consequences. This was 
remedied, however, in March 1942 by the estab- 
lishment of the SOS, which was given super- 
visory responsibilities over all the operations of 
the supply services. For the next five months 
the General Depot Service (later Division), 
SOS, which had inherited the staff functions 
associated with the construction, allocation, and 
use of War Department storage facilities, di- 
rected the operations of the general depots. 
Then, in July, the General Depot Division was 
discontinued, 96 and SOS transferred its operat- 
ing functions in reference to jointly occupied 
depots to The Quartermaster General, while its 
staff functions went to the Assistant Chief of 
Staff for Operations. When the SOS became 
the ASF in March 1943, these staff functions 
were performed in the Office of the Director of 

General depots consisted of supply sections 
of the various tenant services, each of which was 
organized in the same way as a branch depot of 
the particular service to which it belonged. The 
supply officers, heading these sections, were re- 
sponsible to the chief of the supply service they 
represented rather than to the depot commander. 

In prewar days the supply sections were free of 
any supervision save that exercised by the Quar- 
termaster General acting for the War Depart- 
ment. He designated a depot quartermaster who 
was assigned the task of managing activities of 
concern to all the tenant services, such as guard, 
fire protection, general police, utilities, and 
transportation activities of the installations. 97 

Because of this autonomy, supply officers in 
general depots worked independently of each 
other, with little or no pooling of labor or 
equipment. This independence was further pro- 
moted by the prewar fiscal system, for funds 
were not allotted to general depots as such but 
were divided among the various supply sec- 
tions. The authority of the depot commander 
was thus confined to "housekeeping problems" 
and to labor and equipment of a nature com- 
mon to the supply sections. However, he had 
no control over labor and equipment of a par- 
ticular supply section even when idle men and 
machines in one section might have been bene- 
ficially employed in another. 

This autonomy of the supply sections was 
first subjected to remedial study by the General 
Depot Service. 98 It proposed to eliminate waste- 
ful practices and duplication of work by organ- 
izing the general depots along functional lines 
and by conferring on the depot commanders en- 
larged powers by which they could direct the 
consolidation and use of both facilities and 
labor for the benefit of the tenant services. 
Warehousemen, highly trained in storing and 
handling supplies in civilian life, and experts in 
personnel administration were to be the major 
instruments of the depot commanders in attain- 
ing these objectives. The proposals, however, 
met formidable opposition from the QMC and 

96 SOS GO 22, 1 1 Jul 42, no sub. 

97 AR 700-10, Sec. Ill, 1 Jul 36, sub: Supplies: Stor 
and Issue. 

98 Memo, Col R. E. Duff, Actg Chief of Gen Dep 
Div, SOS, for CGs all Gen Deps, 13 Apr 42, sub: 
Functions of Gen Deps to Be Performed Under CO. 



other technical services and were considerably 

When the functions pertaining to general 
depots were transferred to the QMC in July, the 
same goals were pursued but in less drastic 
fashion. The general depots were temporarily 
called jointly occupied Quartermaster depots 
and subsequently ASF depots. 100 In the transfer 
certain staff functions were imposed on the 
OQMG. These included the installation of 
modern warehousing, space conservation, pool- 
ing of common labor, and up-to-date commer- 
cial methods of materials-handling. Funds for 
meeting all overhead expenses at jointly occu- 
pied installations were allotted to The Quarter- 
master General, who was thus freed of financial 
dependence upon the supply sections. The Op- 
erations Division, SOS, co-ordinated the alloca- 
tion of space for branch depots, but the OQMG 
was responsible for handling the applications of 
supply services for space at jointly occupied 
depots in accordance with SOS instructions. 
The Operations Division, SOS, supervised the 
general inspection of operations. 101 

After the transfer, the OQMG outlined the 
functions the commanding officer was to exer- 
cise under the jurisdiction of The Quartermaster 
General. Particular stress was laid on the requi- 
sitioning, pooling, distribution, and servicing of 
all warehouse and materials-handling equipment 
(except that peculiar to a particular supply serv- 
ice); on the application of modern storage 
methods; and on the co-ordination of wage and 
labor policies. The depot commander was to 
have a qualified warehousing and materials- 
handling representative on his staff to assist the 
supply officers, and a personnel branch to 
handle the procurement of civilian employees. 102 
These changes thus followed the same trend 
initiated by the General Depot Service, SOS. 

Although Headquarters, ASF, continued to 
study the organization of operations at branch 
and jointly occupied depots with the objective 
of modernizing and standardizing storage oper- 

ations, 103 it was deemed inadvisable to make 
radical changes in depot organization, adminis- 
tration, and procedures which might interfere 
with depot operations during the intense activ- 
ity of the war period. No major changes in the 
administration of jointly occupied depots there- 
fore occurred between their designation as ASF 
depots in April 1943 and V-J Day. Co-ordina- 
tion of the work of supply sections was most 
strikingly demonstrated in the development of 
labor and materials-handling-equipment pools 
and in a more centralized supervision of per- 
sonnel affairs. In other matters, too, the depot 
commander assumed more authority than in 
prewar days, but, generally speaking, supply 
officers retained control of the technical aspects 
of their functions, though the depot com- 
manders could intervene if they considered the 
operations of a supply section inefficient. The 
trend was unquestionably toward a more highly 
centralized administration of jointly occupied 

Co-ordination, standardization, and control 
of storage and distribution operations were as 
inadequate at Quartermaster branch depots in 

99 ( 1 ) Dep Opn Div to Gen Scowden, OQMG, 20 
May 42, sub: Comments on Memo, Gen Dep Sv, 11 
May 42. (2) Ltr, Col T. L. Holland, CO ATGD, to 
Col Duff, SOS, 19 Apr 42, no sub. (3) Ltr, Col Duff 
to CO COGD et a/., 20 Jun 42, sub: Reorgn of Gen 

100 AG Memo S2 10-8-43, 30 Apr 43, sub: Designa- 
tion of Jointly Occupied Deps. 

101 (1) Ltr, TQMG to COs, Former Gen Deps, 12 
Aug 42, sub: Reorgn of Deps Jointly Occupied. (2) 
Memo, Col R. C. L. Graham, Dir of Plans Div, SOS, 
for TQMG et a/., 5 Sep 42, sub: Co-ordination of Stor 
and Shipping Problems. 

102 (1) Per ltr, TQMG to Brig Gen W. A. Daniel- 
son, CO MEQMD, 5 Aug 42, no sub. (2) Ltr, Col 
J. W. G. Stephens, OQMG, to COs QM Deps, 24 
Aug 42, sub: Orgn of QM S&D Div at Deps. (3) Ltr, 
TQMG to COs QM Deps, 21 Oct 42, sub: Orgn of 
Civ Pers at QM Deps. 

10J (1) Rpt, Control Div, SOS, 17 Sep 42, sub: 
Ultimate Plan of Dep Opns. (2) Memo, Gen Lutes, 
ASF, for Chiefs of Tech Svs, 21 May 43, sub: Dep 
Reorgn Under Rpt 67. 



1939 as at jointly occupied general depots. No 
single agency in the OQMG was responsible 
for the supervision of these operations, and field 
installations were at a loss to know what agency 
in Washington to approach when problems re- 
quired immediate attention. It was feasible in 
peacetime, when supply activities were limited 
in scope, to permit the several commodity 
branches of the Supply Division to deal with 
depots, for the system could work then without 
close supervision. Thus each depot had multiple 
contacts with the OQMG and, at the same time, 
had great autonomy in conducting its oper- 
ations. This situation persisted as late as the 
summer of 1942 when it was observed that 
Quartermaster depots and Quartermaster sec- 
tions of general depots "had a tendency to oper- 
ate as separate autonomies rather than as a part 
of the depot system." Each installation was 
using various methods "for doing business with 
little regard for the existence of similar supply 
organizations." 104 

Some steps toward centralized supervision 
were taken during the emergency period, cul- 
minating in the establishment of the Depot 
Division in May 194l. 105 Not until the OQMG 
shifted to a functional organization in March 
1942, however, were storage and distribution 
functions concentrated in a single unit called 
the Storage and Distribution Division. It had 
managerial supervision over the operation of 
Quartermaster depots and Quartermaster sec- 
tions of general depots, with the exception of 
their procurement functions, which were vested 
in the Procurement Division. The Storage and 
Distribution Division was charged with the 
development of depot organization and pro- 
cedures, the allocation of warehouse equipment, 
the initiation of recommendations for the con- 
struction and expansion of depot facilities, the 
establishment and maintenance of stock levels, 
and the control of stockages, including excess 
supplies at posts, camps, and stations. 

Between World Wars I and II, depot organ- 

ization followed the OQMG organizational 
pattern, although there were many local vari- 
ations. Some of these were traditional and 
others the result of exceptional responsibilities 
imposed on installations, such as the dual pro- 
curement and manufacturing functions of the 
Jeffersonville and Philadelphia Quartermaster 
Depots. In the interest of greater standardiza- 
tion, the principle of functionalism was applied 
to Quartermaster depot organization in 1942 as 
it had been at higher echelons. A year later, 
however, nonstandard organizations and pro- 
cedures still existed to a large extent in depot 
operations. Although a standard framework had 
early been recognized as "necessary to make 
procedural instructions equally applicable and 
to place operational and managerial studies on 
a basis of comparability," 106 it was late in 1943 
before depot organization became more or less 

Inasmuch as the practicability and desirability 
of delegating important responsibilities to the 
field depended upon the existence of capable 
and dependable field units, the OQMG divi- 
sions took measures to help the depots stream- 
line their organization 107 and build up strong 
technical staffs for handling various phases of 
operations. This simplification and strengthen- 
ing of field installations was important both to 
headquarters controls and efficiency in the field. 

Equally important was the delegation of ade- 
quate authority to field executives. One of the 
prime purposes of the War Department reor- 

104 Dep Opn Div to Ex Off, S&D Sv, OQMG, 28 
Jul 42, sub: Material for Annual Rpt of SW. 

105 See above, p. 15. 

106 Ltr, Col Stephens, OQMG, to CO BQMD et a/., 
24 Aug 42, sub: Orgn of QM S&D Div at Deps. 

107 For example, the Procurement Division con- 
ducted studies for the improvement of expediting and 
inspection organization in the depots, and the Storage 
and Distribution Division prescribed a standard or- 
ganization for the Storage and Distribution Section of 
each depot. 



ganization in March 1942 was to effect maxi- 
mum decentralization of operations while main- 
taining centralization for co-ordination of broad 
general policies and objectives. 108 Illustrative of 
the application of this principle to Quartermas- 
ter operations was the steady delegation of 
responsibility for actual procurements and pro- 
curement expediting to the depots and the de- 
centralization of personnel routines and records 
to these field establishments. The major benefit 
in the OQMG of this decentralization policy 
was that it focused attention upon the consider- 
ation of important policies and controls, but it 
also helped prevent an undue increase of per- 
sonnel at Washington headquarters. In regard 
to actual operations, this policy speeded up sup- 
ply by eliminating red tape and unnecessary 
clearances with headquarters. 

At the same time considerable progress was 
made in improving and tightening those con- 
trols essential to activities performed by the 
scattered field units. Among the major im- 
provements was the standardization and sim- 
plification of instructions on policy and proce- 
dure for a wide variety of operations, such as 
contracting, fiscal and property accounting, re- 
porting, distribution of supplies, personnel 
actions, and salvage operations. There were also 
improvements in the quality of statistical and 
other information of operations reported by the 
field and summarized at OQMG for control 
purposes and for use by higher authority. An- 
other improvement was the establishment of 
more adequate and direct contacts with the field 
in connection with phases of operations in 
which determinations in the OQMG had to re- 
flect realistically field experience; for example, 
research and developmental work and the deter- 
mination of requirements. 

Relations with Other Agencies 

In the course of fulfilling its mission the 
QMC found it necessary to work closely with 

many other agencies of the government. These 
ranged from the older, well-established depart- 
ments of government to the newly created war- 
time agencies. Thus in normal times the Corps 
relied for laboratory testing of materials upon 
the National Bureau of Standards of the Depart- 
ment of Commerce, the official government test- 
ing agency. The bureau continued to handle a 
large part of this work in wartime and also 
undertook tests of completed experimental 
items in cases where close scientific observation 
of performance was necessary. 109 In its research 
and developmental work the OQMG also uti- 
lized the laboratory and reference facilities of 
the Department of Agriculture and the Depart- 
ment of Interior. The Office of Scientific Re- 
search and Development was established by an 
executive order in 1941 to assure adequate pro- 
vision for research on scientific and medical 
problems relating to the national defense. This 
office was of increasing assistance to the OQMG 
in its developmental work, for through its Na- 
tional Defense Research Committee the facili- 
ties of governmental, university, and industrial 
laboratories all over the country were made 
available for the solution of scientific prob- 
lems. 110 Fundamental research problems were 
ordinarily presented to it through the War De- 
partment liaison staff which had been set up for 
such clearance in Headquarters, ASF. 

One of the most important wartime agencies 
was the War Production Board (WPB), estab- 
lished on 16 January 1942 to assure "the most 
effective prosecution of war procurement and 
production." In view of mounting military re- 
quirements and decreasing supplies of critical 
materials, priorities and allocations of materials 

108 Memo, Gen Somervell to Dirs of all Staff Divs, 
et at.. 27 Mar 42, sub: Control. 

109 See, for example, Rpt, National Bureau of Stand- 
ards to OQMG, 2 3 Aug 43, sub: Tropical Helmets. 

110 For a more detailed account see Erna Risch and 
Thomas M. Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of World War II 
(QMC Historical Studies 16, September 1946), pp. 



were necessary to balance resources between the 
military and civilian sections of the economy. 
The OQMG found it necessary to co-ordinate 
activities with the WPB in connection with 
many specific problems, such as over-all pro- 
gram requirements of materials and allotments 
for them, production schedules, priorities, ex- 
pediting production, allocations of materials to 
QMC contractors, and specifications. 111 The 
OQMG maintained contact with the WPB 
either directly or through the Army-Navy 
Munitions Board (ANMB) and ASF staff divi- 

The need for control of prices to check 
profiteering and other disruptive practices re- 
sulting from abnormal market conditions led to 
the enactment of the Price Control Act of 1942. 
At the same time, however, there was danger 
that the Quartermaster supply mission would 
be adversely affected. Consequently the OQMG 
established procedures and organizational units 
to obtain such relief from OPA price control 
activities as was necessary in the interest of ex- 
peditious war procurement. 112 The breadth and 
scope of Quartermaster purchases and the large 
number of civilian-type commodities inevitably 
brought delay and confusion in the application 
of OPA price controls. The OQMG, therefore, 
had to obtain numerous rulings on the exemp- 
tions from OPA price regulations. Quarter- 
master policy, however, called for the fullest co- 
operation with the OPA in checking inflation 
through price control, and the OQMG main- 
tained active liaison with that agency. Where 
matters of general policy or those of concern to 
other technical services were involved, Head- 
quarters, ASF, dealt directly with the OPA in 
solving over-all price control problems. 

No one product was more essential to the 
winning of the war than petroleum. To assure 
the prosecution of the war the Petroleum Ad- 
ministration for War (PAW) was established 
with authority to formulate basic policies, 
plans, and programs for the conservation and 

most effective development and utilization of 
petroleum in the United States, its territories, 
and possessions. It issued necessary directives to 
the petroleum industry and as far as practicable 
served as the channel of communication be- 
tween the units of the petroleum industry and 
the several departments and agencies of the 
federal government on matters directly involv- 
ing the functions and duties of the administra- 
tor. On petroleum matters the Fuels and Lubri- 
cants Division, OQMG, worked through the 
Army-Navy Petroleum Board, since that agency 
maintained close liaison with PAW and effected 
close co-operation between the War and Navy 
Departments on all matters pertaining to petro- 
leum and petroleum products. At the same 
time, specific branches of the Fuels and Lubri- 
cants Division found it essential to maintain 
direct relations with various divisions of PAW, 
as, for example, in reference to requirements, 
production capacity of the various refineries 
throughout the United States, and allocation of 
petroleum products. ' ' 3 

Solid fuels, like petroleum products, were 
also administered by a central agency, Solid 
Fuels Administration for War (SFAW), with 
the result that as the supply of coal became 
more critical the Solid Fuels Branch of the 
OQMG requested its allocations from the 
SFAW and then advised a depot to execute a 
contract with a designated contractor for so 
much coal to be delivered to a given post, camp, 
or station. 

Finally, manpower problems established the 
need for other relationships. Early in the emer- 
gency the Labor Division of the Office of Pro- 
duction Management (OPM) was made respon- 

111 OQMG OO 25-51, 11 Sep 43, sub: Coordina- 
tion of Activities with WPB. 

112 (1) OQMG OO 25-54, 24 Sep 43, sub: Orgn 
of Procurement Div. (2) OQMG OO 25-54A, 29 Sep 
43, same sub. (3) OQMG OO 25-54D, 17 Jan 44, 
same sub. 

113 A fuller treatment is found in Risch, Fuels for 
Global Conflict, pp. 10-12. 



sible for providing an adequate and continuous 
supply of trained manpower for the defense 
program. Later the WPB absorbed the OPM 
and assumed its labor supply responsibilities for 
several months. By 18 April 1942 these were 
transferred to the War Manpower Commission. 
Like the OPM, the commission made use of the 
United States Employment Service as the cen- 
tral exchange for labor market information and 
for the recruitment, placement, and control of 
the nation's manpower. 

Quartermaster industries were particularly 
plagued by labor turnover which often seriously 
impeded vital production. This situation was a 
reflection of existing wage differentials which 
provided an effective basis for pirating on the 
part of rival suppliers in the same or other de- 
fense industries. The QMC was therefore much 
interested in manpower controls that would aid 

in the recruitment and retention of essential 
labor forces. Liaison with the above-mentioned 
agencies was originally maintained within the 
War Department by the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War. This activity was absorbed in 
March 1942 by Headquarters, SOS. Within the 
OQMG a Labor Section was established which 
developed the necessary procedures for report- 
ing and follow-up of labor supply problems. It 
channeled labor problems through the Office of 
the Under Secretary of War to the OPM Labor 
Supply Branch and later through Headquarters, 
ASF, to the War Manpower Commission. The 
impact of controls imposed by the commission, 
the OPA, and the WPB are revealed more fully 
in Quartermaster operations. 114 

14 See below, Ch. VII. 



Factors Shaping Research 

Total war requires the use of all national re- 
sources and the exploitation of all scientific 
knowledge and technological skills. In World 
War II the United States was engaged in global 
war which posed a supply problem of tremen- 
dous proportions. The supply responsibility of 
the Quartermaster Corps included the procure- 
ent, storage, distribution, and salvage of such 
supplies as clothing, food, petroleum products, 
individual and organizational equipment, and 
numerous "housekeeping" items. The QMC, 
under the provisions of the National Defense 
Act of 1920, was the most nearly universal sup- 
ply agency of the Army. An essential part of its 
supply activity was research and developmental 
work to improve existing items and provide 
new equipment as the need became apparent. 

To assure victory in the war it was necessary 
for the American soldier to be so equipped that 
he would be superior to his opponents in the 
field. As a result of the mechanization of war- 
fare and the extension of battle fronts to all 
kinds of terrain in all types of climate, an enor- 
mous demand was created for a wide range of 
equipment of the highest attainable quality. 
From the standpoint of Quartermaster respon- 
sibility, this equipment included water-repellent 
fabrics, arctic and jungle clothing, shoepacs, ski 
boots, shrinkproof socks, and waterproof 
matches, as well as nutritious rations, mobile 
laundry and bath units, clothing and textile re- 
pair units, and portable field bakeries. So great 

was the emphasis on research and develop- 
mental work in World War II that the war's 
end found such activities established as a per- 
manent feature of military planning. 

When the war began, however, the status of 
research and developmental activities left much 
to be desired. Such activities had been carried 
on since 1918, but there were two schools of 
thought as to the significance of the achieve- 
ments of these twenty years. One group viewed 
the work done in that interval as the founda- 
tion for much that was accomplished in World 
War II. The second group deemed negligible 
the research activities of those years. The latter 
view was well expressed by the wartime direc- 
tor of the Military Planning Division. 

It has been said too often that the Army started 
this war with the equipment with which it had 
ended World War I. Actually, the situation was 
much worse. Many items which had been devel- 
oped as the result of field experience in the mud 
and rain of northern France in 1917 and 1918 were 
"modified" in peacetime to be more suitable for 
the garrison life at Ft. Benning, Georgia, or Ft. 
Sam Houston, Texas. Even after the outbreak of 
the war, the importance of immediately improving 
existing equipment was not recognized by 
many. . . . Furthermore, many of the items which 
are procured by the Quartermaster Corps are of 
commercial types. In peacetime research had to be 
carried out on Ordnance material because there 
were no commercial items available. On the other 
hand, it was felt by many that the Quartermaster 
Corps could and would accept standard commer- 



rial -designs and items without difficulty. No single 
point of view has perhaps done the Army more 
harm than this one. There are extremely few com- 
mercial items which are suitable for military use. 
The demands which the Army places upon equip- 
ment are such that the use of commercial items re- 
sults in lower efficiency, higher casualties, and in- 
cidentally, higher costs. The inadequacies of exist- 
ing equipment and the dangers implicit in its use 
were brought out at once in the snow and mud of 
supposedly subtropical North Africa and in the 
early campaigns in the Aleutians. 1 

Influence of World War I Surplus Property 

Research and developmental activities of any 
period are conditioned chiefly by economic fac- 
tors which determine their character and scope. 
In the years immediately following World War 
I surplus property was such a determining fac- 
tor. When World War I ended, the existence of 
great stocks of nearly all the items of clothing 
and equipment which were then standard 
hindered the development of new items. It was 
approved War Department policy to issue such 
stocks until they were exhausted. The War De- 
partment recognized the danger of complacency 
resulting from the possession of such a tremen- 
dous mass of war gear. It kept in mind, too, the 
fact that much of this equipment was already 
obsolescent at the time of its production. Ac- 
cordingly, in 1922 the War Department inau- 
gurated a policy of modernization. 

The policy of the War Department is to develop 
and complete the best types of equipment and 
armament in time of peace, irrespective of the 
amount on hand as a result of the World War. 
Wherever the amount of a particular article of 
equipment or armament on hand precludes the 
possibility of production of a newer type, never- 
theless the new type will be adopted, and complete 
specifications drawn up and approved, to the end 
that, in the event of an emergency, production 
could be begun of the latest type. It was found, 
during the World War, that in some instances 
necessity forced the quantity production of old 
types of equipment because improved types had 
never been developed, and new types of equipment 

were produced without an adequate service 
test. . . . The War Department policy which re- 
quires the use of equipment and armament now 
on hand, until exhausted, should not interfere with 
the development of new types to be authorized for 
adoption for future use. 2 

To put this policy into effect the War De- 
partment directed the chiefs of branches of the 
Army to make an annual survey of adopted 
types of equipment and armament with which 
their troops were provided in order to deter- 
mine if such types were up to date and satis- 
factory for an emergency. On or before 31 De- 
cember of each year the chiefs of branches were 
to submit a report of this survey to G-4 (the 
Supply Division) of the General Staff. When- 
ever it was found that new or improved types 
were desirable, steps were to be taken looking 
toward their development in accordance with 
instructions which had already been issued. 

These instructions of the Secretary of War, 
issued on 5 January 1922, directed the chiefs of 
the supply branches to systematize procedures 
for determining acceptable types of equipment, 
for conducting research and developmental ac- 
tivities in connection with the standardization 
of equipment, and for preparing and standard- 
izing specifications. 3 Subsequently these instruc- 
tions were formalized in Army Regulations 4 
first published 15 December 1924 and revised, 
from time to time thereafter as necessitated by 
the growth and reorganization of the Army. In 
general, both the instructions and the later reg- 

1 Brig Gen G. F. Doriot, "The Program of the 
Quartermaster Corps for Future Research," Proceed- 
ings of the Conference on Quartermaster Textile Re- 
search, 1945, pp. 55-56. 

2 Ltr, TAG to TQMG, 15 Sep 22, sub: Annual Sur- 
vey of Adopted Types of Equip, AG 400.114 (9-14- 
22) (Misc) D. 

5 Ltr, TAG to Chiefs of WD Sup Brs, et al., 5 Jan 
22, sub: Instructions Relative to Type, Specs, and 
Standardization of Specs for Articles Used by U. S. 
Army, AG 400.114 (12-21-21) (Misc Div) 
CCW/LWW/ 154.4. 

4 AR 850-25, 15 Dec 24, sub: Misc Types of Equip 
Used by USA. 



ulations provided for determination of policy 
and general supervision in the development of 
equipment by the General Staff. The latter was 
to indicate the types of equipment which it 
deemed necessary and the general characteristics 
which they should possess. The several chiefs 
of the supply branches might also initiate the 
development of new items or changes in exist- 
ing ones. The respective supply branches, with 
the co-operation of the using branches, were to 
conduct the research and developmental work 
in connection with those items for the procure- 
ment of which they were responsible. Each sup- 
ply branch was to maintain a technical commit- 
tee, on which all the supply and combat 
branches as well as the General Staff were to 
be represented. The technical committees were 
to pass upon proposed new or revised designs 
and to make recommendations for the approval 
of specifications and the standardization of 
items. Types were to be submitted to The Ad- 
jutant General for approval. Items were to be 
cleared for procurement through the Assistant 
Secretary of War to assure that, insofar as pos- 
sible, they were of such design as to be readily 
produced in quantity in time of emergency. 
The General Staff, as the co-ordinating agency, 
was to be kept advised of the progress of re- 
search and developmental work in the various 
branches and of the lines along which it was 
being conducted. 

Throughout the period between the two wars 
the annual surveys of equipment and reports of 
deficiencies based on them were continued. 
They constituted the principal stimulus to the 
improvement of designs. The War Department 
in 1923 called attention to the importance of 
these surveys and the action which it was hoped 
would result from them, particularly in connec- 
tion with mobilization plans. 

The established type of each article of equipment 
and supply must not only be determined in time 
of peace, but specifications drawn up so that in a 
great emergency the procurement plans can be car- 

ried out without the delay incident to seeking a 
suitable type. ... It is necessary and essential for 
war plans that there be a standard type adopted, 
and the principal purpose of the annual survey of 
equipment is to determine this fact and to deter- 
mine also the deficiencies which exist and the rem- 
edy which must be applied at the earliest practicable 
date. 5 

Those portions of the annual survey reports 
from the using services which pointed out in- 
adequacies in items of Quartermaster issue were 
forwarded to The Quartermaster General for 
action in accordance with the provision of Army 
Regulations 850-25. Each year The Quartermas- 
ter General in turn submitted to the War 
Department a report indicating the progress 
which had been made in correcting deficiencies 
in equipment, either through the improve- 
ment of existing designs or the development of 
new ones. 

In the first of these annual survey reports the 
Infantry, Cavalry, Field Artillery, and other 
using branches reported seventy items of Quar- 
termaster equipment as being deficient in one 
or more respects. The number declined some- 
what in later years, but a considerable group of 
items continued to be reported on each year all 
during the period between the two wars. Many 
of the complaints, especially in the earlier years, 
had to do with the quality of clothing and other 
items purchased during World War I. Because 
it was approved policy to issue stocks on hand 
until they were exhausted and large quantities 
of these items were available, little could be 
done to meet these deficiencies as far as imme- 
diate issue was concerned. Though the state- 
ment of policy laid down in 1922 warned 
against the tendency, it was inevitable that the 
existence of surpluses should tend to postpone 
action looking toward improvement. Never- 
theless, there was a gradual development of im- 

5 Ltr, TAG to TQMG, et al., 15 jan 23, sub: Survey 
of Types of Equip and Sup, AG 400. 1 14 ( 1-6-23) 
Misc M-D. 



proved specifications so that better types would 
be ready to go into production when their issue 
became feasible. In 1927, for instance, the 
OQMG was able to report that, except for two 
items, "with reference to the Annual Survey of 
Equipment, it is believed that satisfactory prog- 
ress is being made on all items reported there- 
under by the War Department branches." 6 

Lack of Integrated Research Program 

In the interval between World Wars I and II, 
however, the QMC established no integrated 
program of research. Except for motor transport 
planning, the Corps did little to promote a pro- 
gram in which the relationships of items of 
equipment to each other were developed. Pre- 
cise objectives to be attained within any given 
group were not worked out. For the most part, 
items of clothing and equipment were taken up 
for improvement individually and only as defi- 
ciencies were reported in them. To be sure some 
efforts were made to co-ordinate Quartermaster 
research, both within the Corps and with other 
supply services. Thus, within the OQMG a 
Standardization Branch 7 was established in the 
summer of 1921, specifically charged with the 
responsibility of preparing specifications for ap- 
proved types and co-ordinating Quartermaster 
research and developmental work. Never very 
large or active until 1935, the Standardization 
Branch in practice acted mainly as a clearing- 
house, transmitting correspondence to the 
commodity branches of the Supply Division, 
which in turn worked through the manufactur- 
ing depots. The several Quartermaster depots, 
or industries co-operating with them, accom- 
plished whatever research was done during this 
period. In response to instructions from the 
Secretary of War, The Quartermaster General 
established on 24 January 1922 a Quartermaster 
Corps Technical Committee (QMCTC) as an 
advisory board on equipment problems. During 
the process of developing types of equipment 

for which the QMC had responsibility, this 
committee was charged with effecting a 
complete co-ordination among all interested 
branches of the Army. 8 Because the executive 
officer of the committee was also the chief of 
the Standardization Branch these two units dur- 
ing the next twenty years functioned almost as 
one in co-ordinating and promoting Quarter- 
master research and development. 

While the early QMCTC served to bring to 
bear on Quartermaster research and develop- 
mental activities the several points of view of 
the using arms and services, neither the com- 
mittee nor the Standardization Branch promoted 
an aggressive, integrated program of research 
within the QMC. Their mission was to co- 
ordinate and not to control or direct develop- 
mental activities. As a consequence, each of the 
operating branches of the Supply Division and 
each of the manufacturing depots was left free 
to develop its own research and developmental 
program, in the light of the annual equipment 
reports from the using arms. The results of 
these individual programs were made known, 
however, to the other services by the QMCTC. 

Had the committee and the Standardization 
Branch attempted to guide an integrated re- 
search program, their efforts would have been 
foredoomed to failure in the period of the 
twenties and the thirties. Manufacturing depots, 
such as the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot, 
would have opposed such a program. Develop- 
mental work had for many years been decen- 
tralized in the several Quartermaster depots 
and was for them a traditional prerogative that 
was jealously insisted upon long after an inte- 
grated research program was initiated in 1942. 

6 Ltr, TQMG to TAG, 31 Mar 27, sub: Annual 
Survey of Equip, 400.1141. 

7 OQMG O Memo 119, 30 Aug 21, sub: Orgn of 

8 OQMG OO 10, 24 Jan 22, sub: Experimental, 
Development and Spec Procedure. Since the extant 
minutes of the committee date from 10 October 1921 
it had been in existence before this date. 



Furthermore, it was War Department policy to 
leave research and developmental work to the 
efforts of industry as much as possible. The 
financial limitations imposed during this period, 
particularly in the depression years, further re- 
stricted the possibilities of developing an 
integrated research program. 

Financial Restrictions 

The lack of adequate funds for research and 
developmental work was another factor— in 
many respects the controlling factor— limiting 
these activities in the years following World 
War I. In those years the fiscal estimates pro- 
posed by The Quartermaster General for re- 
search purposes were modest. Even so, the lack 
of a long-range planned program of Quarter- 
master research hampered a strong defense of 
these estimates. As a consequence the estimates 
were generally sharply reduced by the Budget 
Advisory Committee of the War Department 
when representatives of the OQMG appeared 
at its hearings to defend them. They were fur- 
ther lowered by the Bureau of the Budget. For 
the most part, the cuts made usually affected 
funds designed for the development of motor 
vehicles. In the thirties reductions were also 
made in the estimates for developmental work 
in the field of clothing and equipment. The 
sharpest decline in funds for research purposes 
took place after the depression began. Such 
funds, along with all others for the Army, were 
consistently reduced during the thirties. The 
trend persisted until the fiscal year 1940 and 
was completely reversed only in the following 
fiscal year. This situation was analyzed by the 
chief of the Fiscal Division in the following 

It will be noted that the policy of approving, 
without substantial cuts, the stated estimates for 
research and development has been apparent only 
since the "emergency" has been in full swing. In 
the six years prior to that time, . . . the situation 
was quite the opposite, and very little consideration 

was given by either the Budget Advisory Commit- 
tee or the Bureau of the Budget to the requirements 
as presented to them. During the six-year period, 
the Budget Advisory Committee, for example, 
heard estimates which included requirements of 
$524,650 for research and development and made 
deletions amounting to $290,250 or 5*5%. The 
Bureau of the Budget in their action on the esti- 
mates made cuts of 80% of the amounts presented 
or 36% of the requirements as originally stated. It 
is interesting to note that Congress made no 
changes in the estimates and thus appropriated 
funds for research and development amounting to 
only 9% of the money originally requested. 9 

Although there were reductions of funds, a 
comparable curtailment of research and devel- 
opmental activities did not necessarily follow. 
Because of lump sum appropriation, it was pos- 
sible to utilize a portion of the funds allocated 
for procurement or other Quartermaster opera- 
tions to complete a given research project. 10 
There is no way of calculating the extent to 
which this practice alleviated the scarcity of 
funds appropriated for research and develop- 
mental activities. Without it, even the modest 
programs of the period would have been hope- 
lessly crippled. 

Despite financial restrictions and the lack of 
a co-ordinated research program, there was a 
steady, if slow, modernization of standard equip- 
ment for which the QMC was responsible dur- 
ing the twenty-year interval between the wars. 
Particularly in the thirties much of value was 
accomplished. A few important new pieces of 
equipment, such as the gasoline-burning field 
range, were developed. In the textile field the 
basic uniform fabrics used throughout World 
War II were developed before 1941. These in- 
cluded the 18-ounce serge used in making en- 

9(1) Ltr, Col E. B. McKinley, OQMG, to Lt Col 
E. S. Hoag, ACofS G-4, 22 Jan 42, sub: R&D Funds. 
(2) See also Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Prewar 
Plans and Preparations, in the series UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, D. C, 
1950), pp. 42, 47-49. 

10 Interv, OQMG historian with Clay V. Davis, 
Chief Clk, Fiscal Div, OQMG, 18 Mar 44. 



listed men's uniforms, 32-ounce melton for 
overcoats, elastique for officers' uniforms, and 
herringbone twill for work clothes. Although 
these textiles were modified from time to time 
during World War II, the basic developmental 
work had been accomplished prior to the out- 
break of the war. Much was also done in the 
motor transport field, notably in the develop- 
ment of the jeep and other multiple-wheel-drive 

Influence of Procurement Planning 

Aside from developmental work aimed at 
modernizing Army equipment, the OQMG was 
engaged in a type of research that evolved from 
the procurement planning undertaken during 
the years 1920-40. This had involved the prep- 
aration of plans to secure adequate and satis- 
factory raw materials for Army items in the 
event of a major crisis. Materials in which 
shortages might be expected to develop were 
divided into "strategic" and "critical" cate- 
gories. Strategic materials were essential war- 
time commodities which were wholly or in 
large part obtained from foreign sources. Criti- 
cal materials were those ordinarily produced at 
home but which might be difficult to procure 
in an emergency. 

Continuous studies of the procurement of 
commodities were initiated as early as 1921 by 
the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War. At 
first intended to cover the whole field of Army 
procurement, these studies were soon confined 
to the strategic and critical groups of materials. 
In 1924 there were formed "War Department 
Commodity Committees" for the clearance of 
plans for the procurement of specified raw ma- 
terials within these categories. The preparation 
of these plans was assigned to the several sup- 
ply services on the .basis of major interest in the 
individual commodity involved. The QMC was 

thus to prepare plans for the emergency pro- 
curement of coffee, cork, flaxseed, hides, jute, 
manila fiber, quebracho, rubber, sisal, tin, and 
wool. This list was later considerably extended. 
The plans were revised from time to time in the 
following years under the supervision of the 
committees, and new items were added for 
study. Occasionally, because of the develop- 
ment of sufficient domestic production, a com- 
modity was removed from the list. Plans for a 
given commodity embraced a full description of 
it, an estimate of wartime military and civilian 
requirements, its sources, a comparison of re- 
quirements and estimated available supply, sub- 
stitutes, prices, possible conservation, recom- 
mendation of emergency control and distribu- 
tion measures, and other pertinent data. The 
Navy finally came to participate in the program 
and joint "Army and Navy Munitions Board 
Commodity Committees" were formed for the 
study of materials in which the Navy had a 
procurement interest. Quartermaster Corps offi- 
cers, drawn from the procurement planning 
organization in the OQMG, were active as 
chairmen or members of a considerable number 
of these committees, which continued to func- 
tion into the period of the national emergency. 11 

Corollary to the preparation of plans for the 
emergency procurement of strategic and critical 
materials was research in substitutes. The neces- 
sity for such a program early became apparent 
to both the Office of the Assistant Secretary of 
War and the OQMG. The only alternative was 
to build huge reserves of strategic materials as 
Germany and Japan were doing, a course of 
action that the War Department, in view of the 
strong pacifist feeling of the time, could not 
pursue lest it be accused of fostering war. 

In 1927 the Assistant Secretary of War re- 
quested The Quartermaster General to supple- 

11 Thomas M. Pitkin and Herbert R. Rifkind, Pro- 
curement Planning in the Quartermaster Corps, 1920—40 
(QMC Historical Studies 1, March 1943), pp. 31-34, 



ment his estimates for funds with additional 
data which would establish the value and neces- 
sity of such research, thus making defense of 
the request for funds easier. 1 - 1 Unfortunately, 
this line of action was ineffectual and the lack 
of funds continued to be a hampering factor. 
In fact, for each of the five fiscal years 1934 
through 1938 — the all-important years preced- 
ing the national emergency— The Quartermas- 
ter General was forced to report to the Assistant 
Secretary of War that no funds had been avail- 
able "for the development of substitutes for 
strategic and critical raw materials and, as a 
consequence, no work in this connection was 
accomplished during the year." l3 

Despite the lack of funds considerable 
progress was made by the QMC in developing 
substitute materials. Research was undertaken 
to develop substitutes for mercury and shellac 
heretofore used in manufacturing the service 
hat; for leather, utilized in the production of 
harness and items of equipage; and for silk, 
used in Army cravats, hat cords, and waists for 
Army nurses. The Corps also established close 
co-operation with industries engaged in devel- 
oping synthetic rubber, tinless cans, and substi- 
tutes to replace shellac used in lacquering food 
containers. These examples are illustrative of 
the earnest efforts made by the Corps to develop 
substitutes for critical raw materials. Even after 
funds for such research were cut off in 1934 
efforts along these lines continued. When the 
country entered the emergency period, frantic 
efforts were necessary to recover lost ground. 

Once Pearl Harbor was attacked, financial 
stringency was eliminated as a factor. Estimates 
of research and developmental funds submitted 
by the OQMG continued to be reviewed and in 
some instances were cut by the War Depart- 
ment Budget Advisory Committee or the 
Bureau of the Budget. Since The Quartermaster 
General was authorized to transfer funds be- 
tween fiscal projects, however, developmental 
work did not suffer. 

Impact of Global War 

The impact of global war greatly stimulated 
research and developmental activities. This fact 
was nowhere more apparent than in the 
OQMG. Prior to 1940, military planning had 
been based on a defensive concept which visu- 
alized operations as taking place mainly near 
or within the borders of the continental United 
States, or in similar climatic areas. As a result, 
comparatively little attention had been given to 
the possibility of waging campaigns in steam- 
ing jungles, in extensive desert areas, in arctic 
regions, or in extremely mountainous terrain. 
Operational planning by the General Staff, 
which envisioned no movement of large forces 
to extreme climatic environments, set the tone 
for equipment planning within the supply 
services of the Army. 

In the interval between the wars the QMC 
had gradually modernized standard items of 
clothing and equipment for which it was re- 
sponsible, but it had developed no program 
looking toward the preparation of specialized 
gear for use in areas of climatic extremes. With 
the rapid expansion of the Army beginning in 
1940, the declaration of the unlimited national 
emergency a year later, and especially with the 
participation of the United States in the new 
world conflict, problems of this nature pre- 
sented themselves for solution in rapid succes- 
sion. The growing Japanese menace to Alaska 
called for an increased garrison for that territory, 
in much of which arctic conditions prevailed. 
The occupation of bases in the North Atlantic 
which followed soon after brought additional 
pressure for the design and procurement of suit- 

12 (1) Memo, OASW for Chiefs of Sup Brs, 23 Dec 

27, sub: Research in Raw Materials Substitutes. (2) 
Memo, Col M. R. Hilgard, OQMG, for ASW, 15 Feb 

28, same sub. Both in 400.12. 

13 Ltr, Maj M. V. Brunson, OQMG, to ASW, 26 
Aug 38, sub: Development of Substitutes for Strategic 
and Critical Raw Materials, 400.12. 



able clothing and equipment for arctic opera- 
tions. The rapid and spectacular development 
of the technique of mechanized desert warfare 
in North Africa, or winter and mountain opera- 
tions in northern Europe, and of airborne 
tactics on the continent and in Crete forced the 
creation of new types of military organizations 
and, concurrently, of new equipment. The swift 
Japanese conquests in the Southwest Pacific, in- 
volving operations in supposedly impassable 
jungles and with the use of improved amphib- 
ious tactics, called imperatively for the rapid 
development of countertechniques and new 
types of clothing and equipment. The impact 
of the war also brought marked changes in the 
field of subsistence. These developments will be 
discussed at length in succeeding chapters. 

Effect of Materials Shortages on Design 

The war also increased the need for conserva- 
tion, probably the most important single factor 
in shaping wartime Quartermaster research and 
developmental work. Enemy conquests of pro- 
ducing areas led to shortages of many raw ma- 
terials, forcing the use of substitutes. Wartime 
limitations in trade and the enormous increase 
in domestic consumption due to the defense 
program itself had the same effect. In many 
instances the use of substitute materials involved 
a more or less complete redesign of the item. 
At the same time, industrial advance in the field 
of plastics, in textile fabrication, and elsewhere 
permitted many shifts from traditional to new 

Some of these changes were difficult to make, 
and in many cases the QMC was forced to 
resort to inferior products, sometimes unnec- 
essarily. The Corps regarded most of these 
changes as temporary expedients. However, 
occasionally a new material proved so satisfac- 
tory that the Corps contemplated no return to 
the original when it should become available. 

In a number of instances, a succession of short- 
ages forced the substitution of one material for 
another which was itself a substitution for 
something else. This situation could have been 
alleviated to some extent if, at the time the 
priority system was established, a higher rela- 
tive importance had been accorded to Quarter- 
master items involved in the over-all supply 
program. This would have saved considerable 
time, effort, and expense. 

Although some progress had been made in 
the development of substitute materials in the 
interval between the wars, the lack of funds for 
that purpose had handicapped such research. 
With the outbreak of war in 1939 and especially 
with the sharpening of the crisis in the follow- 
ing year, problems of materials shortages, actual 
or potential, began to make their appearance 
on the national horizon. From all indications 
these shortages would become more acute as 
the procurement program expanded. 

The problem of the assignment of strategic 
and critical materials to manufacturers and de- 
fense agencies became the subject of a series of 
administrative measures. The Army and Navy 
Munitions Board (ANMB) on 17 June 1940 set 
up a Priorities Committee to assign priorities, 
as between the two services, in the materials 
which were becoming critical. The President 
some months later appointed an "Administrator 
of Priorities," and in January 1941 established 
the Office of Production Management (OPM) 
to direct the whole complex of defense produc- 
tion. 14 All matters of priorities, preference rat- 
ings, conservation studies, and the like were 
under its jurisdiction until it, in turn, was suc- 
ceeded by the War Production Board a year 
later. The policies of these agencies, insofar as 
they affected the QMC and the other supply 
services of the Army, were effectuated through 
the Office of the Under Secretary of War until 

14 (1) EO, 21 Oct 40, Federal Register, V, 4199. (2) 
EO, 7 Jan 41, Federal Register, VI, 191-92. 



the reorganization of the Army in March 1942. 
After that time Headquarters, SOS (later ASF), 
was the point of mutual contact. 

By early 1941 the procurement program of 
the QMC had begun to be affected by scarcities 
in such metals as aluminum, copper, nickel, 
brass, and stainless steel. The shortage of basic 
and semifinished materials and the low priority 
status accorded Quartermaster equipment ne- 
cessitated a comprehensive conservation pro- 
gram. In this the OQMG sought to substitute 
less critical or noncritical materials wherever 
possible, thereby insuring successful procure- 
ment and at the same time making critical 
materials available for indispensable purposes. 
This policy was initiated in the OQMG on 24 
February 1941. Expecting the shortages to be- 
come more and more drastic as the procurement 
program went on, the OQMG recommended to 
the Under Secretary of War the following week 
that steps be initiated "to co-ordinate all engi- 
neering and designing branches with the pro- 
curement branches for the purpose of establish- 
ing the flexibility required to meet the 
necessities of substitutions of metals as such 
necessities arise." 15 

Conservation measures affecting the design 
of equipment had thus already been projected 
by the Corps when the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War took up the problem of con- 
servation of materials by the Army through a 
series of directives to the supply services. These 
memoranda, issued at intervals during the 
spring, called attention to the need for the con- 
servation of various metals. On 11 June 1941 
the Under Secretary of War stressed the need 
for strict enforcement of a comprehensive con- 
servation policy. He directed the supply services 
to conduct "a continuous study" of all specifi- 
cations in order to reduce or eliminate require- 
ments for strategic or critical materials which 
had been placed under allocation or priority 
control unless such action seriously impaired 
military efficiency of the equipment. 16 On the 

first of each month, each supply service was to 
report to the Office of the Under Secretary the 
progress it had made in such revision of speci- 

The Quartermaster General immediately 
turned to the task of announcing the policy to 
the Corps l? and setting up the necessary organ- 
ization. A policy was outlined with reference to 
materials on the "Priorities Critical List." These 
were to be specified only when no substitution 
could be made without seriously impairing 
military efficiency. None of the materials listed 
as critical were to be used "except on such items 
or projects for which there is no known substi- 
tute that will not result in the loss of essential 
efficiency." Suitable substitutes should not be 
construed as meaning "equal" or "equivalent," 
but should be interpreted as meaning "those 
that will serve the same essential purpose even 
though they may be less durable and involve 
some increased initial or ultimate cost." This 
policy was to be applied immediately to new 
materials subsequently placed under mandatory 
control by the OPM. 

Some months later more detailed instructions 
to the Corps emphasized that "conservation 
should not be considered of secondary impor- 
tance but should be made the first order of 
business of all personnel concerned with speci- 
fications and procurement." In considering the 
suitability of substitutes, the military character- 
istics and efficiency of the items were of funda- 
mental importance but the procurability, 
durability, and cost of substitutes were also to 
be duly weighed. When an item possessed defi- 
nite military characteristics, that is, when it had 

15 (1) Memo, Lt Col Hugh B. Hester, OQMG, for 
USW, 3 Mar 41, sub: Substitutions. (2) Same to chiefs 
of all branches, OQMG, 24 Feb 41, sub: Substitution 
in Specs. 

16 Memo, Robert P. Patterson for TQMG, 11 Jun 
41, sub: Conserv of Certain Basic and Semifinished 

17 OQMG Cir Ltr 113, 16 Jun 41, sub: Conserv of 
Critical Materials. 



certain essential qualities which it must possess 
in order to fulfill a definite military purpose, the 
effect on these characteristics of the use of a 
substitute was to be carefully considered. When 
no definite military characteristics were in- 
involved, the essential efficiency of the item 
was to be given first consideration. The com- 
mercial procurability of a substitute within a 
reasonable time was to be weighed against the 
time involved in obtaining the material orig- 
inally specified with applicable preference 
ratings. Durability of a substitute was to receive 
due consideration, and items which could be 
readily repaired or replaced might be designed 
of materials having a shorter probable life than 
the original. Increase in original and mainte- 
nance cost was to be weighed against durability, 
efficiency, and procurability, but in general, 
where the other prerequisites were met, "cost 
should not be the determining factor in deciding 
whether or not the substitution should be 
made." 18 

The administrative details of the conservation 
program were handled initially by a Conserva- 
tion Steering Committee, established in July by 
The Quartermaster General in the Planning 
and Control Division. It effected co-ordination 
and general supervision of the conservation 
work of the Corps. 19 Responsibility for changes 
in specifications, however, remained with the 
division chiefs. The committee also consoli- 
dated and reviewed the monthly reports pre- 
pared by the various divisions for the conserva- 
tion report to the Under Secretary of War as 
required by his instructions on 11 June. A 
requirements section prepared studies on raw 
materials requirements for Quartermaster items. 
Subsequently, in a reorganization at the end of 
1941, the functions of preparing estimates of 
raw materials requirements and of carrying out 
the conservation policy were grouped together 
in a Production Branch of the Planning and 
Control Division. 20 When the major reorgan- 
izations of the OQMG occurred in 1942, these 

functions, administered by a Materials and 
Conservation Section, ultimately were lodged in 
the Research and Development Branch of the 
Military Planning Division. 

Under the policy set forth, Quartermaster 
specifications were subjected to close study with 
a view to conserving scarce materials. Every 
effort was made to find suitable substitutes that 
could be used either wholly or in part and that 
possessed the same performance abilities and 
military characteristics as those then in use. The 
basic work was accomplished at Quartermaster 
depots, laboratories, and shops. Exceptions to 
OPM and later WPB conservation orders were 
requested only after continued research and 
experimentation failed to produce satisfactory 
substitute materials. An analysis of the specific 
critical materials affecting the Quartermaster 
procurement program reveals the scope of the 
Quartermaster conservation program and its 
impact on the design and development of items 
for which the Corps had responsibility. 

Under the strain of the defense program, 
shortages in a number of metals, such as alumi- 
num, copper, zinc, nickel, tin, and stainless 
steel, were first to appear. Aluminum, which 
had been produced in this country by only a 
single firm and largely from imported bauxite, 
quickly came to present a very acute problem 
because of the extensive use of this metal in the 
manufacture of airplanes. The initial effort of 
the QMC in conserving aluminum was made 
in the field of garrison equipment, the purchase 
of which was forbidden if it required the use of 
aluminum. 21 But a number of Quartermaster 
field items also made extensive use of this 
metal. The necessity of maintaining satisfactory 

18 OQMG Cir Ltr 255, 30 Sep 41, sub: Conserv 

19 OQMG OO 168, 24 Jul 41, no sub. 

20 OQMG OO 25-A, 31 Dec 41, no sub. 

21 (1) OQMG Cir Ltr 71, 22 Apr 41, sub: Substi- 
tutes for Aluminum. (2) OQMG Cir Ltr 104, 7 Jun 
41, sub: Conserv of Aluminum. 



military characteristics for field items precluded 
such blanket prohibition of the use of alumi- 
num as could safely be applied to garrison 
equipment. Nevertheless, specifications for mess 
gear and other field items utilizing aluminum 
were revised to incorporate satisfactory substi- 
tute materials. 

The Army field mess gear, consisting of 
meat can, canteen cup, canteen, knife, fork, and 
spoon, had for many years been made largely of 
aluminum. Mess gear made of this metal was 
easy to clean, would stand fire, did not easily 
corrode, and was extremely light. It had served 
the Army well through one war and there was 
great reluctance on the part of the QMC and 
the using arms to undertake the use of substi- 
tutes. It was easy to design a plastic handle to 
the knife, which effected some saving of alumi- 
num. Redesign of the meat can, canteen cup, 
and canteen was another matter. Under pressure 
of a dwindling supply of aluminum, however, 
experimentation continued, and in 1943 large 
orders of stainless steel meat cans and canteen 
cups were procured. These items, though much 
more costly than the aluminum types, proved 
satisfactory and were finally standardized. Satis- 
factory canteens of both plastic and stainless 
steel were eventually produced and received 
classification as substitute standard items. 22 

Among other field items of Quartermaster 
issue making extensive use of aluminum, the 
most important was the field range, M-1937. 
Until well into the war period the QMC was 
harassed by serious delinquency in the delivery 
of spare parts and accessories for this item. 
Delinquencies were due in varying degrees to 
delays in receipt of raw materials and equip- 
ment by the manufacturer and to engineering 
changes made necessary by the elimination of 
critical materials, as well as to a lack of produc- 
tion capacity in the case of some contractors. To 
help break the bottleneck created by the mate- 
rials situation the QMC resorted both to higher 
priority ratings and to revision of specifications. 

In their efforts to eliminate strategic materials, 
engineers at the Jefferson ville Depot, the pro- 
curing depot for most Quartermaster mechani- 
cal equipment, soon produced a revised design 
for the field range. Blued steel sheets and gal- 
vanized steel replaced aluminum and stainless 
steel, leaving a small amount of copper, essen- 
tial for the fuel lines, as the only critical metal 
in this important mobile cooking unit. In use 
this new design, which was later somewhat 
modified, proved entirely satisfactory as far as 
its basic materials were concerned. The weight 
was only moderately increased and the efficiency 
perhaps somewhat improved. 25 

Shortages of certain types of steel and of the 
alloy metals for making them began to be felt 
before the defense program had gone far. The 
whole group of ferro-alloy metals, such as 
nickel, chromium, manganese, tungsten, and 
the like, were on the list of materials specified 
as critical in June 1941. 24 Most of the world's 
nickel came from Canada and ample supplies of 
it were available in the United States until it 
began to be used in fantastic quantities for the 
tough nickel steel needed in armor plate and 
projectiles. Expansion of production was a slow 
process, involving the construction of new mills 
and smelters as well as the mining of more ore. 
Chromium, the master alloy metal in stainless 
steels, had a variety of other industrial uses. It 
was produced mainly in South Africa, Turkey, 
and the distant Pacific islands. The acute ship- 
ping situation contributed to the shortage of 
this important material. Tungsten, essential in 

22 (1) R&D Br to Procurement Div, OQMG, 19 
Apr 43, sub: Type 430 Stainless Steel for Meat Cans 
and Canteen Cups. (2) R&D Br, Status Rpt, 30 Apr- 
31 Oct 43. (3) Ibid., 31 Jul 42-31 Dec 43. 

» (1) Ltr, Lt Col O. E. Cound, OQMG, to OUSW, 
17 Jan 42, sub: Conservation. (2) Interv, OQMG his- 
torian with Eugene D. Halleck, Mechanical Sec, R&D 
Br, OQMG, 9 Jun 44. 

24 OQMG Cir Ltr 113, 16 Jun 41, sub: Conserv of 
Critical Materials. 



the manufacture of tool steel, had been pro- 
duced chiefly in China. Though deposits in the 
United States and in South America were being 
opened up, the growing difficulty of communi- 
cation with China and the vast increase in tool 
making incidental to the defense program pro- 
duced a temporary scarcity. Manganese, a de- 
sulphurizing and deoxidizing agent in the basic 
steel making process as well as an important 
alloy metal, was largely imported from abroad. 
A large stockpile of it had been built up in the 
United States, however, and it was considered 
somewhat less critical than some of the other 
alloy metals. 25 

A large part of the alloy steel used by the 
QMC in 1941 went into automotive equip- 
ment, which was then still a Quartermaster re- 
sponsibility. Specification changes in the motor 
transport program, however, had to be viewed 
with caution. The elimination of some critical 
materials would have had unfortunate effects 
upon the ruggedness and performance of the 
vehicles involved. Substitutions also would 
have required complete redesigning and retool- 
ing of particular parts and of the vehicle as a 
whole, which would have consumed consider- 
able time and resulted in complete production 
stoppage. In addition, substitutions in certain 
types of automotive parts would have required 
fuel and lubricants differing appreciably from 
those in use for military vehicles. Despite these 
handicaps the Corps liberalized specifications 
and substituted less essential materials for alu- 
minum, alloy steel, rubber, and other critical 
materials as rapidly as suitable substitutes could 
be found to provide the performance considered 
essential for military vehicles. 26 

As shortages of ferro-alloy metals became 
more acute, specifications of Quartermaster 
items were repeatedly reviewed to conserve 
these critical materials. Some thirty-eight minor 
items, chiefly accessories in harnessware, were 
found in which substitutes of less critical mate- 
rials could be made for nickel. At the same time 

a procurement of 6,600,000 stainless steel iden- 
tification tags— an item previously manufac- 
tured of monel metal which contains 60 percent 
nickel— was made, thus conserving approxi- 
mately 50,000 pounds of nickel. 27 

Chromium was conserved largely through 
the substitution of other materials for stainless 
steel. Much of the tableware and many miscel- 
laneous kitchen utensils of the Army had been 
made of stainless steel. These were now, for the 
most part, redesigned in tinned or enameled 
steel. Large quantities of corrosion-resisting 
steel were freed by the use of galvanized iron in 
laundry equipment Stainless steel was also re- 
placed by cast iron in all mixers for bakers. In 
the shipbuilding program, still under Quarter- 
master direction in 1941, stainless steel was 
therefore used in the construction of vessels and 
equipment only where excess corrosion resulted 
if mild steel or other ferrous materials were 
employed. 28 

The sheer bulk of the requirements of the de- 
fense program and of the expanding civilian 
economy accompanying it, which was imposed 
on an industrial system that had been static for 
many years, soon brought about shortages in 
most types of steel. Pig iron and steel were 
placed under priority control by the OPM at 
the end of the summer of 1941. The QMC was 
instructed to make "every effort to conserve the 
use of iron and steel products where they are 
now specified and substitute wood and other 

25 (1) "The Crisis in Materials," Fortune, August 
1941, p. 69. (2) Memo, Dir of Info, OEM, for editors 
of newspapers, Oct 41, sub: Materials for Defense. 

26 Memo, Gen Gregory, TQMG, for USW, 18 Jul 
41, sub: Rpt of Conserv of Strategic and Critical 

27 ( 1 ) Standardization Br to Ping & Control Div, 
9QMG, 14 Mar 42, sub: Conserv of Nickel. (2) Pro- 
duction Br to Asst Chief of Ping & Control Div, 
OQMG, 19 Feb 42, sub: Nickel. (3) Standardization 
Br to Production Br, OQMG, 13 Mar 42, sub: Nickel. 
All in 410.2. 

28 Memo, TQMG for USW, 2 Jul 41, sub: Conserv 
of Stainless Steel, 410.2. 



materials wherever possible." 29 Accordingly on 
numerous construction projects, which at this 
time were still a Quartermaster responsibility, 
efforts were made to conserve steel through 
structural designs involving greater use of wood 
and concrete. Wood sheathing replaced corru- 
gated steel for siding and roofing. Construction 
quartermasters stopped using galvanized fenc- 
ing, specifying wood in place of steel for fence 

A survey had revealed that the QMC pur- 
chased approximately 150 items requiring large 
amounts of steel. Excluding the large quantities 
that went into the automotive program, con- 
struction, and shipbuilding, a few important 
items, including field ranges, tent stoves, cots, 
and lockers, utilized the remainder of the Corps' 
steel requirements. It was a simple matter to 
substitute wood for steel in the procurement of 
office furniture and filing equipment. Little 
could be done, however, about eliminating steel 
entirely from such items as field ranges and 
stoves, although redesign of the range prac- 
tically eliminated the more critical types of the 
metal. On the other hand, wood replaced steel 
in the standard Army cot and the folding chair 
while the locker box and field safe were rede- 
signed so as to save much of the weight of steel 
and to effect other improvements. 30 

A considerable amount of copper, in the form 
of brass and bronze, has traditionally been used 
in the clothing and personal equipment of the 
soldier. Brass is considered good for ornamental 
purposes because it takes on a high polish and 
resembles gold. Copper alloys are also favored 
for utilitarian uses, since they are hard and 
strong while at the same time much more re- 
sistant to corrosion than iron or steel. Buttons 
for the uniform coat as well as distinctive mili- 
tary insignia have for generations been made of 
brass. Brass or bronze has been used extensively 
in the form of buckles and, since the introduc- 
tion of webbing, in eyelets, snaps, rings, and 
end clips on personal gear such as cartridge 

belts and packs. Eyelets for shoes and canvas 
leggings also make use of one or another copper 
alloy. In organizational equipment of Quarter- 
master types, copper alloys are used for tent 
grommets, musical instruments, kitchen uten- 
sils, and incidentally in caparison equipage and 
various mechanical items. Although QMC con- 
sumption of copper in all forms was relatively 
slight when compared with the use of this 
metal by the Ordnance Department in such 
items as small arms ammunition and shell cas- 
ings, its conservation was considered important 
in view of the scarcity of copper which devel- 
oped with the defense program. 

While the national copper supply had 
seemed ample only a short time before, direct 
military uses in the rearmament program be- 
ginning in 1940, with the infinitely varied uses 
of the metal in the expanding industrial econ- 
omy, soon produced a shortage. A record pro- 
duction in the United States of 842,000 tons in 
1937 had seemed sufficient for any possible 
need, but in 1941, even with the importation 
of 500,000 tons from South America, there was 
an acute shortage. Requirements for 1942 were 
at that time estimated at 2,500,000 tons. 51 

As the supply of copper became inadequate 
to meet vital military needs, requests for allo- 
cation for personal hardware— buckles, clips, 
grommets, and the like— were disapproved re- 
gardless of how essential they appeared to the 
QMC. This caused a serious delay in the pro- 
curement program. Whereas manufacturers had 
been working three shifts to supply the Corps, 
many were forced to cut down to one-shift 
operation and some shut down completely for 

29 OQMG Cir Ltr 221, 2 Sep 41, sub: Conserv of 
Iron and Steel Products. 

30 ( 1 ) OQMG Ltr 399, 22 Dec 41, sub: Purch of 
Steel Furniture and Office Equip. (2) Resources Div, 
OQMG, Rpt of Development Projects in Progress, 1 

Jun 42. (3) R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 Aug 42-31 
Dec 43. 

31 "The Crisis in Materials," Fortune, August 1941, 
p. 68. 



lack of materials. In addition, the shortage of 
skilled molders made it difficult to obtain ade- 
quate supplies of molded types of hardware and 
created a major chokepoint in the production of 
several types of buckles and clips. 

Production engineers and expediters from the 
OQMG conferred with the Jeffersonville Quar- 
termaster Depot and leading suppliers of hard- 
ware components. As a result of their study they 
recommended a comprehensive survey of the 
entire line of Quartermaster hardware with a 
view to standardizing designs and material 
specifications, eliminating unnecessary types 
and sizes, and substituting stamped for molded 
hardware wherever practicable. These recom- 
mendations were adopted. 

At the same time the QMC endeavored to 
substitute for copper wherever possible. Among 
the substitutes considered for -small hardware 
items of bronze and brass, such as grommets, 
buckles, clips, loops, and hinges, were enamel- 
coated iron or steel, and zinc. 32 Zinc sheet was 
used to replace brass in tent grommets, conserv- 
ing an estimated 2,000,000 pounds of brass 
during a period of six to eight months, and a 
number of other effective substitutions were 
soon made in the small hardware field, largely 
eliminating brass from Quartermaster items of 
equipage. 33 

A more difficult problem was posed in the re- 
placement of the metal used in the attachments 
and findings of the soldier's personal equip- 
ment. The QMC finally issued an appeal to in- 
dustry to offer suggestions. 34 Zinc substitutes, 
tried out for the eyelets in such heavy webbing 
items as cartridge and pistol belts, proved too 
soft for use. However, plastic eyelets which met 
with approval after tests by the Quartermaster 
Board were finally developed. 35 They were not 
used because in the manufacturing process they 
were found difficult to apply. Snap fasteners, 
used for the pockets of cartridge belts and in a 
number of other items, presented a peculiar 
problem. They called for hard metal while their 

use involved friction which would scrape off 
any coating applied to an iron or steel substi- 
tute, exposing it to rust. The director of the 
Military Planning Division was convinced that 
brass was essential for snap fasteners, but never- 
theless under pressure the QMC allowed the 
use of steel snap fasteners on a few items. 36 
Plastic substitutes were used in making end 
clips, which bound the tips of webbing belts 
and straps. Olive drab plastic buttons replaced 
the bronze buttons heretofore used to brighten 
the uniform. 37 Plastic proved to be one of the 
most effective substitutes for brass in many 
Quartermaster items. 

Tin was used in great quantity by the QMC 
in the form of tin plate in cans for food packag- 
ing. In 1940, after the beginning of the limited 
national emergency, the Corps, in collaboration 

32 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col F. H. Pope, OQMG, to Hon. Henry 
Cabot Lodge, Jr., 18 Dec 41, no sub. (2) OQMG Cir 
Ltr 39, 19 Jan 42, sub: Conservation — Use of Zinc- 
Base Die Castings as Substitutes for Brass in Small 
Hardware Items. 

33 (1) OQMG Weekly Progress Rpt, 29 Jun 42. 
(2) MemoJQMG for USW, 18 Jul 41, sub: Rpt of 
Conserv of Strategic and Critical Materials. (3) While 
coated iron and steel substitutes for brass were reason- 
ably satisfactory in most items of equipment under 
normal climatic conditions, they proved entirely un- 
suitable for jungle use. As a result the depots were 
instructed that, with minor exceptions, brass should 
be used in the specifications for all hardware for jungle 
items. Ltr, Maj S. J. Kennedy, OQMG, to CO PQMD 
and CG JQMD, 2 Sep 42, sub: Jungle Equip. 

34 Ltr, R. R. Walton, OQMG, to Dr. M. G. Milli- 
kin, Hercules Powder Co., et al., 20 Aug 42, no sub, 

35 Materials & Conserv Sec to Plastics Sec, OQMG, 

25 Aug 42, sub: Plastic Eyelets on Belts. 

36 ( 1 ) Memo, Col Doriot, OQMG, for Dir of Pro- 
duction Div, SOS, 29 Sep 42, sub: Conserv of Brass 
in Snap Fasteners, 410.2. (2) Dir of Mil Ping Div to 
Insp Div, OQMG, 13 Oct 42, no sub. (3) Henry Rau, 
Jr., OQMG, to Chief of Conserv Sec, Copper Br, 
WPB, 18 Apr 43, sub: Construction of Snap Fasteners, 

37 (1) R&D Br to TQMG, 24 Aug 42, sub: Plastic 
Buttons for Wool Serge Coat. (2) Plastics Sec to Dir 
of Procurement Div, OQMG, 26 Nov 42, sub: Plastic 
Uniform Buttons. (3) R&D Br to S&D Div, OQMG, 

26 Dec 42, sub: Plastic Cap Buttons. 



with the National Canners' Association and the 
several large can manufacturers of the country, 
began a series of tests of tin plate of lighter 
grade than that normally used for food packag- 
ing. These tests established the feasibility of re- 
ducing the tin content in food cans. After the 
United States entered the war the tests became 
the basis of a WPB order directing that no tin 
plate should be manufactured heavier than the 
light grade which had been established as satis- 
factory. As Japanese conquests extended through 
the tin-producing regions of southeast Asia, ef- 
fectively cutting off the bulk of the normal sup- 
ply of the metal, the QMC also directed its 
attention actively toward the development of 
substitute food-packaging materials, such as 
black plate, glass, and fiber containers. 38 

In addition, the procurement divisions of the 
OQMG were directed to survey the items for 
which they were responsible and report those 
making use of tin and tin-bearing materials, 
with a view to effecting substitutions wherever 
possible. 39 Conservation of aluminum and stain- 
less steel in kitchenware had turned attention to 
the possibilities of enamel steel as a substitute. 
Efforts were now made to redesign, in enamel 
steel, cooking equipment and various containers 
which had been manufactured of tin-coated 
steel, sometimes as a substitute for aluminum. 

Although zinc was a metal which had never 
been on the critical list, as early as February 
1941 the Office of the Under Secretary of War 
informed the supply services that steps would 
have to be taken to reduce the quantities of 
zinc being specified in order to guard against an 
acute shortage. Zinc, as a component of brass, 
entered into the construction of a great many 
Quartermaster items. It was also used as a gal- 
vanizing agent in such items as buckets and 
G. I. cans, and as part of a compound in the 
manufacture of rubber goods. A few pieces of 
equipment used the metal in the pure state. 40 

One of the basic measures taken toward zinc 
conservation consisted of eliminating the "hot- 

dip" galvanizing process in the manufacture of 
items calling for a zinc coating. Instead, the less 
wasteful electroplating or sherardizing processes 
were to be used for applying zinc coatings to 
steel. 41 Galvanizing was eliminated entirely in 
many metal construction items, painting being 
ordinarily substituted. 

Late in 1943 the increased production of zinc, 
together with the reduction of the small arms 
ammunition program, brought about a definite 
surplus of the metal. The supply services were 
then encouraged to make all possible use of zinc 
inasmuch as the War Department desired to 
keep marginal mines in operation so that their 
production would be available for brass in the 
event that the ammunition program should be 
expanded again. 42 

In general, by the end of 1943 scarcities in 
most metals had disappeared. Aluminum had 
become so plentiful that the supply services 
were encouraged to find new uses for certain 
types of the metal. Brass and bronze once more 
became available for design purposes. By that 
time, too, the situation in regard to chromium 
and stainless steel had eased so much that these 
metals were available for a number of impor- 
tant Quartermaster uses, such as identification 
tags, canteens, mess trays, and certain parts of 
the field range. Most grades and alloys of steel 
had become available in ample quantity and 
were reintroduced into various pieces of equip- 

58 The efforts of the subsistence and packaging staff 
of the OQMG and the Subsistence Laboratory at the 
Chicago Depot to devise effective substitutes for tin in 
the packaging of food are described in detail in Harold 
W. Thatcher, The Packaging and Packing of Subsistence 
for the Army (QMC Historical Studies 10, April 1945), 
pp. 27-41. 

59 Ping & Control Div to MT and Sup Divs, 
OQMG, 18 Mar 42, sub: Conserv of Tin. 

40 Chief of Standardization Br to Chief of Sup Div, 
OQMG, 2 May 41, sub: Conserv of Zinc. 

41 OQMG Cir Ltr 136, 7 Jul 41, sub: Elimination 
of Hot- Dip Galvanizing Process. 

42 Henry Rau, Jr., Chief of Material Sec, to Col 
Doriot, OQMG, 18 Nov 43, sub: Meeting on Avail- 
ability of Copper and Zinc. 



ment from which they had been eliminated 
during the period of scarcity. 43 The story of 
metal conservation was one of famine followed 
by feast. 

Of all the nonmetallic raw materials in which 
shortages developed during the war, rubber was 
by far the most vital. Rubber had come to oc- 
cupy a unique place in the national economy, 
its applications constantly broadening as the 
knowledge of its chemistry developed. It was 
always an exotic, a product of the tropics. Na- 
tive to Brazil though it was, its cultivation had 
been developed in British Malaya and the 
Dutch East Indies until more than 90 percent of 
our imports came from these regions and near- 
by areas which were equally in danger of con- 
quest by Japan, in case of war involving Japan 
with the white colonial powers in the Pacific. 

In the period of procurement planning, the 
wartime supply of rubber had been the subject 
of a progressive commodity study by the QMC. 
When there was an obvious abundance of rub- 
ber and when the legend of "invincible Singa- 
pore" was still part of the accepted popular 
mythology, little was done to insure an ade- 
quate emergency supply. By 1940, however, the 
government was taking belated steps to stock- 
pile rubber. Not until some time after Pearl 
Harbor, however, did rubber figure largely in 
the Army conservation program. Prior to that 
time Donald M. Nelson, then Director of Pur- 
chases, OPM, had suggested the retreading of 
automobile tires as a conservation measure. 44 
By August 1941 rubber was listed among the 
materials considered most critical and The 
Quartermaster General had instructed the Corps 
to eliminate and reduce its use as much as 

It was the middle of January 1942, when Jap- 
anese conquest of the whole of southeastern 
Asia was imminent, that the Under Secretary 
issued his first special directive to The Quarter- 
master General and to the other supply chiefs 
on the subject of rubber conservation. "The 

matter of a supply of crude rubber has reached 
a critical stage. Notwithstanding the drastic 
curtailment of civilian uses of rubber, it is evi- 
dent that the armed services must also materi- 
ally conserve and curtail the use of rubber by all 
practicable means." 45 

Rubber needed for automotive equipment, 
including tires, tubes, and mechanical parts, 
consumed 73 percent of Quartermaster rubber 
requirements. The rest was used in the manu- 
facture of service shoes, overshoes, raincoats, 
rubber boots, and a variety of other items. 46 In 
the active rubber conservation program which 
now took place, the greatest emphasis was 
naturally placed on automotive items, which re- 
mained a Quartermaster responsibility for sev- 
eral months longer. Numerous items of cloth- 
ing and equipage, however, were also affected 
by the program. Specifications were revised to 
cut down sharply the weight of rubber in the 
raincoat, to reduce the rubber content in rubber 
boots and overshoes, and to substitute plastic 
for rubber in all combs. The purchase of all 
types of rubber matting had been stopped and 
all outstanding contracts were canceled. At the 
same time The Quartermaster General set forth 
the policy henceforth to be observed by the 
Corps in conserving rubber. All specifications 
were to be reviewed either to reduce the quan- 
tity of rubber prescribed or to substitute syn- 
thetic or reclaimed rubber where this could be 
done without impairing military characteristics 
of the items involved. 47 

43 (1) ASF Cir 3, Sec. IX, 3 Jan 44, sub: Conserva- 
tion. (2) Memo, Chief of Minerals Sec for Chief of 
Steel Sec, Materials Br, Production Div, ASF, 27 Oct 
43, sub: Stainless Steel for Army Flat Ware. 

44 Ltr, Donald M. Nelson to Robert P. Patterson, 
USW, 28 Jul 41, sub: Tire Retreading. 

45 Memo, Robert P. Patterson, USW, for TQMG, 
12 Jan 42, no sub, 423. 

46 A. Daignault to Col Guy I. Rowe, OQMG, 25 
Nov 41, sub: Rubber Rqmts of QMC, 423. 

47 (1) Memo, TQMG for USW, 20 Jan 42, sub: 
Rubber Conserv, 423. (2) OQMG Cir Ltr 32, Sup- 
plement 2, 23 Jan 42, sub: Conserv of Rubber. (3) 
OQMG Cir Ltr 70, 17 Feb 42, same sub. 



As the Japanese conquests continued and it 
became apparent that very little new crude rub- 
ber would be available for years to come, the 
pressure on the supply services to reduce their 
consumption of this material increased. The 
elimination of all rubber from supply procure- 
ments soon came to be the objective of the 
QMC. This ideal was never attained, though 
surprising progress was made toward it. A re- 
view of rubber conservation projects prepared 
by the OQMG in August 1942 indicated that 
thirty-seven different items and groups of re- 
lated items containing rubber had been under 
study with a view to eliminating this material. 
Great progress had been made in reducing the 
rubber content in the service shoe. All crude 
rubber had been eliminated from the heel, and 
the use of reclaimed rubber had been minimized 
by the adoption of a heel with a wood core. 
Crude rubber had been completely replaced by 
reclaimed rubber in shoe taps. The rubber con- 
tent of the overshoe had been successively re- 
duced by lowering the compound specifications 
and by the adoption of a cloth instead of a rub- 
ber top. The rubber content of hip and knee 
boots had been considerably reduced by changes 
in the specifications for the compounds in- 
volved. Oil-treated fabrics and synthetic resins 
were specified in the raincoat, completely elimi- 
nating rubber. The former were quickly found 
to be unsatisfactory, particularly in extreme 
climatic conditions. The synthetic resin coats, 
on the other hand, were developed to the point 
where they were equal or even superior to those 
using natural rubber. Waxes and other finish- 
ing materials had been found suitable to replace 
the chlorinated rubber formerly used in the 
water-repellent and fire-resistant treatment of 
tentage duck. Completed or under way were 
projects for the elimination or reduction of the 
rubber content in such miscellaneous items as 
firemen's coats, wire cutters, shoepacs, ski boots, 
latex-dipped gloves, gaskets for food and water 
containers, canvas field bags, and the elastic 

webbing in the suspension of the helmet liner. 48 
In the summer of 1942 a new series of items, 
constituting the specialized clothing and per- 
sonal equipment for jungle operations, became 
a QMC responsibility. Jungle equipment was 
soon in production on a large scale, in prepara- 
tion for major American offensive operations in 
the Southwest Pacific. Some of the items in- 
volved the extensive use of rubber and in the 
urgent need for this equipment first procure- 
ments had been made without question of the 
amount of rubber involved. Specifications for 
jungle items, such as the jungle boot, essen- 
tially a high-top sneaker made with a full rub- 
ber sole and heel, and the jungle food bag, used 
for carrying dried foods, were soon revised, 
however, to conserve rubber. 49 

In the course of the conservation program, 
every item of Quartermaster issue involving the 
use of rubber was carefully scrutinized. In most 
cases, satisfactory substitutes from the plastic 
field or elsewhere were eventually found for 
rubber items, or the crude rubber content was 
at least materially reduced through the use of 
reclaimed or synthetic material. The urgency of 
rubber conservation continued for a long time. 
Since changes in the design of Quartermaster 
equipment containing rubber had been pushed 
as far and as rapidly as possible in the direction 
of conservation, there remained for the time 
being only tightened control measures covering 
the use of rubber items and the suggested delay 
of procurement as means for further reducing 
rubber consumption. As the production of syn- 
thetic rubber began to take on significant pro- 
portions, however, the supply services were 

48 Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to S. P. Thacher, Chief 
of Rubber Sec, ANMB, 10 Aug 42, sub: Rpt on Rub- 
ber Conserv. 

49 Ltr, Doriot to Thacher, 8 Oct 42, sub: Rpt on 
Rubber Conserv. (2) For a summary of the develop- 
ment and hurried first procurement of the jungle 
equipment see Thomas M. Pitkin, Quartermaster Equip- 
ment for Special Forces (QMC Historical Studies 5, Feb- 
ruary 1944), pp. 198-207. 



urged to emphasize conversion of remaining 
rubber items from the natural to the synthetic 
product. 50 Rubber conservation measures in the 
QMC from the fall of 1943 on, insofar as they 
involved the design of equipment, centered in 
the application of one or another of the syn- 
thetics, as these became available, to uses for- 
merly calling for crude rubber. 

Cordage fibers, such as hemp, sisal, and jute, 
constituted a group of largely imported raw 
materials extensively used by the Corps. Jute, a 
product of India, was used chiefly for burlap 
bagging. Noting the increased shipping rates 
on burlap from India, the hazardous nature of 
such shipping, and the heavy stocks of cotton 
accumulated within the United States because 
of the loss of export markets, The Quarter- 
master General in 1941 directed that cotton 
cloth and cotton bagging be procured in the 
place of jute burlap whenever possible. 51 

Shortly afterward all stocks of first-class 
Manila fiber, produced in the Philippines and 
generally used for the better grades of rope, 
were ordered "frozen" by the OPM. Since this 
Manila fiber was essential to the expanding 
Navy, the QMC was requested to review its 
cordage specifications with a view to utilizing 
sisal and cotton rope or Grade C Manila, as far 
as possible, to meet its requirements. Tentage 
rope was the most important single classifica- 
tion of Quartermaster cordage. Sisal replaced 
the use of Manila fiber. The best sisal is ob- 
tained from Java and East Africa; somewhat 
lower grades are grown in Mexico. With the 
supply of the best grades soon cut off or reduced 
by the progress of the war, Quartermaster spec- 
ifications made use of the less desirable Mexican 
variety. Also, a considerable amount of cotton 
rope had already been procured for a number 
of uses. Cotton rope has a tensile strength 
about half that of Manila of the same diameter. 
It has a high rate of water absorption and lacks 
resistance to mildew. The material was cheap 
and abundant, however, and further develop- 

ment of cotton rope, with a view to its more 
extended use, as well as experiments with rope 
made of jute, of which a considerable quantity 
was now found available, were carried on by the 
Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot and the 
Bureau of Standards. Ropes of jute and of both 
braided and twisted cotton, satisfactory for most 
purposes, were developed and specifications 
drafted. 52 

Among the items needed for the new moun- 
tain troops was a climbing rope. Such rope had 
to have a great tensile strength and unusual 
resistance to sudden shock. Climbing ropes had 
traditionally been made of first-class Manila. 
While it was believed by mountaineers that no 
other material would serve, under the pressure 
of critical shortage lower grade Manila was 
used. At the same time reports of experiments 
by manufacturers with nylon rope were followed 
up and actively encouraged by the OQMG 
Ultimately mountain climbing rope made of 
nylon, actually superior to the best Manila, was 
produced. However, nylon itself was a critical 
material, and there was some difficulty at first 
in getting it allocated for this purpose. Limited 
quantities were finally made available to meet 
the most urgent needs for climbing rope. 53 

Developmental work in the textile and cloth- 
ing program was conditioned by the need for 
the conservation of various fabrics. Wool was 
used by the QMC in great quantity for winter 
clothing and blankets. It had been a scarce com- 
modity during World War I. As a consequence, 
during the period of procurement planning, the 
OQMG had studied the means of assuring a 

50 ASF Cir 70, Sec. II, 3 Sep 43, sub: Conversion 
from Crude to Synthetic Rubber. 

,] (1) OQMG Cir Ltr 82, 1 May 41, sub: Use of 
Substitutes for Jute Burlap. (2) Ibid., 130, 3 Jul 41, 
same sub. 

52 (1) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to CG JQMD, 24 
Sep 42, sub: Sisal Rope. (2) R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 
Oct 42-31 Oct 43. 

53 ( 1 ) R&D Br to S&D Div, OQMG, 23 Mar 43, 
sub: Climbing Ropes. (2) Pitkin, Quartermaster Equip- 
ment for Special Forces, pp. 97-98. 



supply of it in another emergency as well as the 
possibilities of effecting substitutions for it. For 
the most part, domestic production was suffi- 
cient for ordinary needs during the early part of 
World War II. The prospect of a considerable 
mobilization of manpower, however, foreshad- 
owed an eventual shortage and caused the 
OQMG in the spring of 1940 to urge that 
measures be taken toward building up a stock- 
pile of Australian wool."' 4 This action eventually 
resulted in the accumulation of a supply suffi- 
cient to meet all essential military needs. 

Before this program had become effective, 
however, and when for a time military events 
threatened to cut off the larger part of wool im- 
ports, prospective shortages had considerable 
effect on the design of items using wool. In the 
summer of 1941 the OQMG reviewed its wool 
uses and began active consideration of substi- 
tute materials. The increased rate of mobiliza- 
tion resulting from our entry into the war in 
December and the possibility that wool sup- 
plies from abroad might be cut off or seriously 
reduced forced the OPM to take measures con- 
trolling civilian consumption and brought a 
renewed study of Army specifications. 

A movement began among conservation 
officials to persuade the QMC to lighten the 
weight of the winter uniform and effect other 
savings in wool. The wool conservation pro- 
gram urged upon the Corps by the WPB cen- 
tered upon four principal items and materials- 
blankets, 32-ounce overcoating, 18-ounce serge, 
and flannel shirting— which accounted for over 
80 percent of Army wool purchases. 55 These 
recommendations, prepared in the light of civil- 
ian experience, were discussed at a conference 
in the OQMG between representatives of the 
WPB, the QMC, and civilian textile specialists. 
Some of the dangers involved in effecting sub- 
stitutions for wool in basic field items were 
clarified. While 16-ounce woolen cloth, for in- 
stance, might be considered ample for ordinary 
civilian use, it was hardly suitable for troops 

who might be ordered to extremely cold cli- 
mates. The 18-ounce serge, used for much of 
the Army's winter clothing, was lighter than the 
material used in any previous war and lighter 
than the fabric used by other armies. 

The Corps had already substituted cotton 
comforters for wool blankets for use in barracks. 
Substitutions for the field blanket, however, 
had to be viewed with caution. Preliminary 
tests had shown that a mixture of reworked 
wool or cotton immediately resulted in reduced 
warmth. The peculiar virtue of wool was that 
it absorbed large quantities of moisture without 
becoming saturated. Blankets with an admix- 
ture of cotton would be less efficient in this re- 
spect and less wind resistant. Nor would it be 
efficient to increase the weight of the blanket 
to offset the reduction in wool content, since 
the soldier would have to carry the added burden 
on his back. 

Quartermaster representatives revealed that 
35 percent of reworked wool was already being 
used in the material for overcoating and that 
flannel shirting was 20 percent cotton. Thus it 
appeared that wool requirements could not be 
materially reduced through lowering the weight 
and quality of basic Quartermaster items. 
Nevertheless, the OQMG undertook to cut 
wool consumption wherever possible and a 
committee was formed to study the subject of 
wool conservation. This committee held meet- 
ings at intervals throughout the next few 
months at the OQMG and at the Philadelphia 
Quartermaster Depot, the procuring depot for 

As a result of the committee's deliberations 
a number of additional measures were taken. 

> 4 Memo, Brig Gen C. L. Corbin, OQMG, for ASW, 
21 May 40, sub: Shortage of Raw Wool to Meet Mo- 
bilization Rqmts, 423. 

55 (1) Memo, Deputy Dir of Procurement & Distr, 
SOS, for Gen Corbin, OQMG, 30 Mar 42, no sub. (2) 
Memo for file, F. S. Blanchard, Textile Consultant, 
Bureau of Industrial Conserv, 4 Apr 42, sub: Wool 
Supply and Mil Rqmts- Mtg at OQMG, 2 Apr 42. 



The "bi-swing back," designed to allow greater 
freedom of movement, was taken out of the 
service coat, effecting a 12 percent saving in the 
yardage of serge used on each garment. Since 
the introduction of the field jacket, this coat was 
no longer considered a combat garment nor did 
the return to the snug-fitting back lessen its 
utility for ordinary wear. The proportion of re- 
worked wool in overcoating material was in- 
increased further by 15 percent. A trench coat of 
water-repellent, wind-resistant poplin, with a re- 
movable wool lining, was proposed as a possible 
replacement for the woolen overcoat and the 
raincoat in the European theater. Blankets with 
a low percentage of wool content were proposed 
for barrack use, making all-wool blankets in use 
in barracks available for reissue in the field and 
eventually cutting down the procurement of 
the all-wool type. In line with the committee's 
recommendations, trench coats and experimen- 
tal blankets of various mixtures were procured 
for thorough testing, while investigations of 
possible substitute wool and rayon mixtures to 
take the place of the basic 18-ounce uniform 
serge cloth were undertaken. 56 

Tests conducted by the Quartermaster Board 
indicated that blankets made with as much as 
35 percent of reworked wool were as warm as 
those made entirely of virgin wool, while any 
considerable admixture of rayon was inadvis- 
able as it increased the tendency to absorb mois- 
ture and lessened the fire resistence of the 
blanket. Trench coats were approved for use by 
officers, and extensive tests by service boards of 
similar coats for enlisted men were undertaken. 
The project was dropped, however, in August 
1943 when the M-1943 combat ensemble was 
adopted. By that time, in fact, there was little 
need of further experimentation along the line 
of wool substitutions. The size of the Army was 
becoming stabilized and initial clothing issues 
were expected to decline rapidly. The military 
situation had so improved that there was little 
likelihood of interruption of the lines of com- 

munication with Australia and other wool- 
producing countries. It was anticipated that the 
QMC would not consume even the domestic 
wool clip for 1943 or 1944. The stockpile of 
wool in the country was large and could even 
be reduced with safety. While it might be de- 
sirable to maintain a modest reserve, The Quar- 
termaster General advised the WPB that "the 
same reasons do not prevail today, as did prevail 
a year and one-half ago, for carrying a reserve of 
the present size." 57 

Silk had always been one of the strategic ma- 
terials under the classification maintained during 
the procurement planning period. Imported 
largely from Japan, this material would be prac- 
tically unobtainable in case of a war with that 
power. Silk, on which the Air Corps had first 
claim for use in parachutes, became subject to 
strict conservation measures in the summer of 
1941. The Supply Division of the OQMG was 
directed to prepare a report indicating the uses 
of this material in Quartermaster items and the 
measures that could be taken to conserve it. 58 

Silk was used extensively by the Corps in 
banners and ribbons for decorations and medals, 
in nurses' white waists and enlisted men's black 
ties, in hat cords, as lining or seam material in 
numerous items of clothing, and as thread. For 
most uses substitutions were readily effected. 
Mercerized cotton thread replaced silk thread; 
mercerized cotton and rayon replaced silk lin- 
ing; the issue of silk neckties and nurses' waists 
was discontinued; rayon replaced silk in hat 
cords and in some other items. 59 For banners 
and decoration ribbons, replacement was a little 

56 (1) Maj Kennedy to Col Doriot, OQMG, 23 
May 42, sub: Committee to Review QM Wool Specs. 
(2) Preliminary Rpt of QM Wool Conserv Com, 8 

Jun 42. (3) QM Wool Conserv Com Rpt, 11 Sep 42. 

57 Ltr, Gen Gregory to Donald M. Nelson, 10 Aug 
43, no sub, 423. 

58 Ping & Control Div to Chief of Sup Div, OQMG, 
29 Jul 41, no sub. 

59 Memo, Gen Gregory for USW, 1 Sep 41, sub: 
Conserv of Strategic and Critical Materials. 



more difficult and was not at first recommended. 
The special weathering and draping qualities of 
silk, together with its high degree of strength, 
made it the most desirable material for such 
items, intimately associated as they were with 
individual and organizational morale. The Phil- 
adelphia Depot had, however, for a number of 
years been investigating all types of synthetic 
fibers for use as substitutes for banner silk. By 
June 1942 it had developed a specification for 
rayon banner cloth which was approved as satis- 
factory for procurement. 60 

It had long been known in the QMC that the 
facilities available for the production of cotton 
duck, used for tentage, tarpaulins, and many 
items of clothing and personal equipment, 
would be insufficient to meet all needs in case 
of a great emergency involving the mobilization 
of a large army. This situation had made the 
study of duck procurement one of the most im- 
portant aspects of Quartermaster procurement 

Even the limited expansion of the Army 
which took place in 1940 forced almost immedi- 
ate departures from the specifications of tentage 
duck. By November procurement officers in the 
OQMG were admittedly "securing practically 
every fabric that can be be considered as a pos- 
sible substitute for the regular 15.5 oz. plied 
yarn duck." 6l Tentage made from substitute 
material, it was directed, was to be marked so 
that it could be readily identified in the field. 
The shortage of duck was so serious by the fol- 
lowing year that a study of clothing items was 
made with a view to eliminating this material. 
One of the savings effected was replacement of 
the 10.2-ounce waterproofed duck used as the 
outer fabric of the mackinaw by a lighter cotton 
fabric that was in greater production and could 
be readily waterproofed. 

With the increased rate of mobilization fol- 
lowing Pearl Harbor, the Army's duck require- 
ments approximately doubled. Every effort was 
made to extend the production of this material. 

Carpet, plush, tapestry, and upholstery indus- 
tries were converted to its production despite a 
substantial increase in cost to the government. 
The QMC was assigned the task of buying all 
duck for the Army. Efforts already under way 
were stepped up to develop a substitute ma- 
terial for the type of duck used in shelter tents. 
In the face of enormous demands, specifications 
for numbered and flat duck had to be revised to 
include the more abundant double- and single- 
filled flat duck, heavy twill, and other substitute 
materials. Because of the difficulties in procur- 
ing the heavy duck required for pyramidal and 
other large tents, the Army had to gear its 
specifications more realistically to potential 
supply and accept a wide variety of nonstand- 
ard tentage. Concessions were made with respect 
to color, weight, and width in order to eliminate 
the difference between commercial and Army 
production where possible. 62 In addition, a 
study was made of all items of duck and web- 
bing equipment, primarily to reduce the weight 
carried by the soldier but also in an effort to 
make greater use of lighter and more available 
materials. The WPB issued an order forbidding, 
in general, the use of duck for civilian purposes, 
"unless such cotton duck has been rejected as 
unfit for use by both the Army and the Navy of 
the United States." 63 

With many new manufacturers brought into 
the field and with substitutions and changes in 
the finishing technique, the production of duck 

60 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Vere Painter, PQMD, to TQMG, 2 
Jun 42, sub: Banner Silk Substitute. (2) 1st ind, Maj 
Kennedy, OQMG, to CG PQMD, 15 Jun 42, same 
sub. (3) 2d ind, Col Painter to TQMG, 19 Jun 42, 
same sub. (4) Ltr, Lt Paul E. Walz, PQMD, to 
TQMG, 1 Oct 42, sub: QMC Tentative Spec for Rayon 
Banner Cloth. All in 400.1141. 

61 Ltr, Capt James E. Baker, OQMG, to John M. 
Reeves, Reeves Bros, Inc., 20 Nov 40, no sub. 

62 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col W. A. McCain, PQMD, to TQMG, 
2 Oct 40, sub: Utilization of Carpet Mills for Duck. 
(2) Rpt, Col Robert T. Stevens and Ralph A. Butland, 
n. d., sub: The QMC Duck and Webbing Pool. 

61 WPB, General Preference Order M-91 to Con- 
serve Sup and Direct Distr of Cotton Duck, 28 Feb 42. 



was gradually stepped up to meet the needs of 
the armed forces, and procurements of substi- 
tute fabrics were made less frequently. The duck 
problem, however, was and continued to be 
one of the most serious production difficulties 
which the QMC was called upon to face and, 
for a time, a large proportion of the items into 
which the material entered was affected by the 

Fur had been extensively used in the special 
list of clothing for the small peacetime Alaskan 
garrison. With the expansion of the Army and 
the establishment of large garrisons in Alaska 
and other far northern areas, any large depend- 
ence upon furs for cold-climate clothing became 
impracticable. For a time the Corps made wide 
use of "shearling," or yearling lambskin, in its 
cold-climate clothing. But there were practical 
objections to this material, and its use by the 
Air Corps was so great that by the end of 1941 
it tended to become a critical material. For some 
years explorers and mountaineers had been 
tending to minimize the use of furs in their 
clothing, substituting loosely woven woolen 
protected by outer shells of closely woven, 
wind-resistant cotton. Textile men had also been 
experimenting with the use of plush or "pile" 
of alpaca and mohair for cold weather garments. 
The QMC, after conducting cold-chamber lab- 
oratory experiments with soldiers wearing dif- 
ferent types of garments, found that pile cloth- 
ing with wind-breaker shells was efficient. The 
clothing designers of the Corps turned more 
and more to pile material to meet cold-climate 
clothing needs. By 1943 the Army clothing list 
for cold areas included very few items involving 
the use of fur. 64 

The expansion of the northern garrison also 
brought to light another serious material short- 
age. Sleeping bags are essential equipment for 
troops in cold climates. Down, which consists 
of the soft, fluffy under feathers of ducks, geese, 
and other aquatic birds, is considered the most 
efficient filler for sleeping bags. Early in the 

emergency a shortage of down became appar- 
ent. Kapok, a fluffy vegetable fiber, was an ob- 
vious substitute, and this material was used for 
some procurements for the Alaskan garrison. It 
proved, however, to lack sufficient warmth to 
meet the rigors of the arctic winter, and Maj. 
Gen. S. B. Buckner, commanding in Alaska, 
protested vigorously against its use. 65 

Down had been largely imported from China 
and Europe. Most of the foreign sources were 
soon shut off. The WPB in February 1942 is- 
sued an order restricting the use of goose and 
duck feathers and down to fulfilling defense 
contracts, but the limited domestic supply, even 
when so channeled, proved insufficient to meet 
the needs of the Army. The QMC explored 
every avenue in the search for a really efficient 
substitute for down. Extensive experimentation 
was carried on with milkweed fiber, curled 
chicken feathers, kinked acetate fiber, and other 
natural and synthetic materials. Nothing as ef- 
fective as the mixture of 40 percent down and 
60 percent waterfowl feathers was discovered, 
however, though the shorter feathers of turkeys 
and chickens made a reasonably satisfactory ma- 
terial when used in a mixture not exceeding 25 
percent with down and waterfowl feathers. 
Sleeping bags were purchased chiefly with the 
40-60 percent mixture of down and feathers, 
although in 1944 dilution with 25 percent of 
chicken feathers was authorized. 66 

64 Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for Special Forces, 
pp. 23-29. 

65 ( 1 ) Memo, Maj Gen S. B. Buckner for CG Fourth 
Army, 30 Sep 41, no sub. (2) Ltr, Col Robert M. Lit- 
tlejohn, OQMG, to Gen Buckner, CG Alaska Defense 
Command, 17 Jan 42, no sub. (3) Ltr, Gen Buckner 
to CG Western Denfense Command, 22 Jun 42, no 

66 ( 1 ) Memo for file, Materials & Conserv Sec, 
OQMG, 19 Dec 42, sub: Down, Feather, and Kapok 
Situation. (2) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Dr. E. G. 
Auchter, Research Administrator, Dept of Agricul- 
ture, 11 Mar 43, no sub. (3) Special Forces Sec to 
Materials Sec, OQMG, 6 Mar 43, sub: Filler for Sleep- 
ing Bags. 



Quartermaster items also made use of large 
quantities of leather of various types, much of 
which was normally imported. Most of the 
leathers used in the manufacture of equipment 
became critical materials sooner or later. The 
first serious shortage to appear was in horse- 
hide, used for heavy leather gloves. A cowhide 
tannage was developed which was intended to 
give cowhide the same characteristics as horse- 
hide, and this material was used as a substitute. 
Another substitute specification for horsehide 
gloves was worked out in goatskin. As cowhide 
itself became a critical material, a new glove de- 
sign, in which leather was used only in the 
palm, was developed in 1942. This cut-and-sewn 
glove replaced the wool knit glove previously 
supplied as the general issue item of hand- 
wear. 67 

Within a few months after Pearl Harbor, 
hides, skins, and most types of leather were 
placed under close control by the WPB, pri- 
marily to make these materials available for 
military needs. The Army supply services, how- 
ever, were not brought under such heavy pres- 
sure to eliminate leather as in the case of rub- 
ber and certain of the metals. Footwear con- 
sumed by far the largest part of the leather used 
in Quartermaster items. The most effective 
measure taken by the Corps to conserve leather 
was the initiation of a shoe-rebuilding program 
both in this country and in the theaters. 68 In 
addition, the QMC took advantage of every 
opportunity to reduce its consumption by effect- 
ing substitutions or eliminating leather from a 
number of other items, such as scabbards for 
rifles, carbines, and submachine guns. Specifica- 
tions were relaxed to permit the use of lower 
grade and thinner leathers. 

The most important new development in the 
design of the service shoe, affecting the quantity 
of leather used, consisted in the change from a 
leather to a composition sole. This step was 
taken primarily because of the superior wearing 
qualities of the composition material, but the 

growing shortage of sole leather was a consid- 
eration. Its effect was to reduce greatly the 
leather requirements for this basic Quarter- 
master item. 69 A further conservation measure 
consisted in the replacement of the leather bot- 
tom filler by a cork filler. Since the rubber situa- 
tion became very tight after the United States 
entered the war, conservation in the footwear 
program from this time on was centered more 
in efforts to reduce the amount of crude rubber 
consumed than in the saving of leather. In fact, 
at one time it was expected that it would be 
necessary to return to the use of leather soles. 
Nevertheless, leather remained a critical com- 
modity and the QMC continued to watch for 
opportunities to save this material. 

A notable feature of the whole conservation 
program was the extensive use of synthetic plas- 
tic materials as substitutes for natural raw ma- 
terials. Plastics constituted a relatively new field 
of industrial development. Progress in this field 
was immensely stimulated during the war by 
the needs of the QMC and the other supply 
services. For Quartermaster items alone plastics 
were considered, tested, and to some extent 
used as substitutes for metals, rubber, and other 
materials. This new group of substances also 
occasionally permitted the development of a 
new item for which no natural material was 
quite suitable. In a number of instances, plastic 
substitutes for orthodox materials were so supe- 
rior to the original that no return to the latter 
was contemplated when it should again become 

67 ( 1 ) Standardization Br, Rpt of Test and Develop- 
ment Work in Progress, 1 Mar-1 May 42. (2) R&D 
Br, Status Rpts, 30 Jun-31 Jul 42, 31 Aug-30 Nov 42. 

68 See section on shoe-rebuilding program in Ch. 
II of The Quartermaster Corps: Organization, Supply, 
and Services, Vol. II, a volume now in preparation for 
this subseries. 

69 ( 1 ) Memo, Harold M. Florsheim, OPM, for Col 
Littlejohn, OQMG, 23 May 41, no sub. (2) Memo, 
Gen Corbin for ACofS G-4, 6 Jun 41, sub: Composi- 
tion Soles for Sv Shoes, 421. (3) Ltr, Gen Littlejohn 
to Maj Gen W. C. Baker, 14 Feb 42, sub: Sv Shoes. 



Plastic buttons not only replaced the brass 
buttons of the uniform, but also took the place 
of vegetable ivory and bone buttons of other 
garments. Plastic replaced brass in whistles, 
water bag faucets, bugles, and razors; it took 
the place of aluminum in knife handles and, in 
a limited procurement, in canteens; it replaced 
rubber in raincoats and other waterproof fabrics. 
Certain new and important Quartermaster 
items, such as the helmet liner and the methyl 
bromide delousing set, were made of plastic 
substances from the beginning. Rifle and other 
weapon covers of expendable plastic material 
were developed for the use of the amphibious 
forces. Plastic insoles for the jungle boot added 
to the health and comfort of troops campaign- 
ing in the steaming tropical forests of the 
Southwest Pacific. 70 The applications of plas- 
tics, largely but not entirely as substitutes, 
eventually became so extensive that shortages of 
these synthetic substances frequently appeared, 
sometimes forcing the substitution of one plas- 
tic for another. 

Nylon was a new plastic material which came 
to have varied and useful applications in Quar- 
termaster equipment. Best known before the 
war as a silk substitute from which sheer stock- 
ings were made, nylon showed protean possibil- 
ities under the stimulus of war. Mountain 
climbing rope, superior to the best Manila, was 
developed from it. Shoe laces made of filament 
nylon showed such excellent wearing qualities 
that they came to be used with all jungle foot- 

wear. Rainsuits and light-weight ponchos for 
tropical wear were designed in nylon. Tooth- 
brush and shaving brush bristles were made of 
it, and the material was considered for a whole 
range of jungle fabric items. Nylon was also 
deemed the best material for mountain tents. 71 
Unfortunately for the Corps, nylon was the 
only satisfactory substitute available to the Air 
Forces for the Japanese silk formerly used in 
parachutes. It was used not only for the fabric 
but also for the shroud lines of the parachutes. 
Nylon fabric was therefore largely allocated to 
the Air Forces, and the supply services for some 
time had to do without it or to accept such 
quantities of rejected parachute material as be- 
came available. Production of nylon increased 
but so too did Air Forces' requirements. While 
substantial allocations were eventually made to 
the QMC in 1944, the organization was for a 
long time unable to make as free use of this 
amazingly versatile product as it would other- 
wise have done. 72 

70 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col C. A. Schwarzwaelder, OQMG, to 
Office Chief of CWS, 21 Sep 42, sub: Scientific Info. 
(2) Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for Special Forces, 
266, 273-75. 

7 ' ( 1 ) Footwear & Leather Sec to Materials Sec, 
OQMG, 7 Aug 43, sub: Nylon for QMC Uses. (2) 
Materials Sec to Textile Sec, et a/., OQMG, 6 Aug 43, 
sub: Nylon for QMC Uses. 

72 Materials & Conserv Sec to Col Doriot, OQMG, 
2 5 Aug 42, sub: August Nylon Allocation Meeting, 
Hq SOS. 


The Development of Army 

In any discussion of wartime scientific 
achievement it is inevitably the spectacular— jet 
propulsion, new explosives, radar— which ob- 
tains the most publicity. This may obscure but 
by no means diminishes the importance of the 
research done by the Quartermaster Corps in 
co-operation with industrial and university lab- 
oratories in developing those items of clothing 
which contributed to the physical and mental 
well-being of the soldier in World War II. 

Organization for Product Development 

Quartermaster research activities were cen- 
tered in the Supply Division at the beginning 
of the national emergency in 1939- Two units of 
that division— the Standardization Branch and 
the Clothing and Equipage Branch — were 
active in the development of new items of 
Quartermaster clothing and equipment and in 
the revision of specifications. 1 The Standard- 
ization Branch, the heart of which was the Spec- 
ifications Section, was responsible for supervis- 
ing the development, preparation, and standard- 
ization of specifications for all articles provided 
by the Quartermaster Corps. This supervision 
meant checking and clearance rather than the 
direction of an active program of co-ordination. 
The branch also handled administrative details 
for the Quartermaster Corps Technical Com- 
mittee (QMTC), which effected co-ordination 
among all interested branches of the Army dur- 

ing the development and standardization of 
types of clothing and equipment for which the 
Corps had responsibility, and the preparation 
and co-ordination of specifications. Lt. Col. 
Letcher O. Grice was chief of the Standardiza- 
tion Branch and executive officer of the com- 
mittee. The Clothing and Equipage Branch was 
under the direction of Col. Robert M. Little- 
john, later to become Chief Quartermaster of 
the European Theater of Operations (ETO). 
Although primarily concerned with procure- 
ment, this branch had been accustomed to take 
a dominant part in the design of items within 
its province and continued to be active in de- 
velopmental work. 

In the emergency period Quartermaster re- 
search was confined, as heretofore, largely to 
correcting deficiencies in items as pointed out 
in the annual surveys of equipment made by the 
chiefs of branches of the Army. Occasionally 
upon request new items were developed. Quar- 
termaster research did not become an activity in 
its own right, however, until the end of 1941. 
This development resulted from the mounting 
international crisis, which by 1940 had forced 
the United States into a vast defense program, 
including the dispatch of a greatly enlarged gar- 
rison to Alaska. 

The Alaskan clothing list, revised to some 

1 (1) OQMG OO 4, 7 Jan 37, sub: Office Orgn. 
(2) OQMG OO 24, 7 Sep 38, same sub. (3) OQMG 
OO 25F, 15 May 41, no sub. 



extent in 1928, had remained almost unchanged 
until 1940. Both the Clothing and Equipage 
and the Standardization Branches were engaged 
in 1940 in revising this list and in developing 
and procuring suitable cold-climate clothing 
and equipment. A series of meetings on the 
problem emphasized the need for an organiza- 
tion, unhampered by problems of procurement, 
storage, and distribution, to study cold-climate 
equipment. As a result, Brig. Gen. Clifford L. 
Corbin, chief of the Supply Division, author- 
ized the establishment of a new Cold Climate 
Unit in the Standardization Branch late in 
1941. 2 Quartermaster wartime research and 
developmental activities stem from these 

Lines of responsibility for the details of the 
development of items of clothing and equip- 
ment necessarily remained somewhat flexible. 
Both the Clothing and Equipage Branch and 
the Standardization Branch were acquiring in- 
dustrial specialists and expanding rapidly to 
meet their responsibilities. 3 There was a certain 
amount of duplication of organization and func- 
tions which was of minor consequence as long 
as the two branches remained in close touch 
within the same division under chiefs who were 
in harmonious relationship. The prime objec- 
tive was to get the work done, and consequent- 
ly specific problems were handled by personnel 
of either branch as the qualifications of individ- 
uals dictated. 

The reorganization of the OQMG along 
functional lines in March 1942 altered this 
situation. The Supply Division was broken up. 
The Standardization Branch, absorbed by the 
new Production Service, became the Product 
Development Branch within the Resources Di- 
vision, and was headed by Lt. Col. Georges F. 
Doriot. At the same time the Resources Divi- 
sion also absorbed the Production Branch of the 
Planning and Control Division, thus merging in 
one organization the problems of production, 
materials conservation, and design. This con- 

solidation gave recognition to the fact that 
product development and production problems 
were closely associated. The Clothing and 
Equipage Branch, which kept its own research 
organization intact in the transfer, became a 
branch in the new Storage and Distribution 

Two distinct organizations in the OQMG, 
rather widely separated from a control stand- 
point, were now performing essentially the 
same functions because this divided responsi- 
bility was not clarified during the process of 
reorganization. The conflict was presently re- 
solved by the adoption of a recommendation 
made in the Piatt Report to the effect that "all 
design and development work at headquarters, 
OQMG, should be centralized in Product De- 
velopment Branch; such work being carried on 
now in Storage and Distribution Service should 
be transferred to Product Development." 4 The 
Production Service had made good its claim to 
jurisdiction in this field. 

Responsibility for product development was 
further clarified in the second reorganization of 
the OQMG at the end of July 1942. The Mili- 
tary Planning Division absorbed the Production 
Service, taking over its organizational units in- 
tact. Its mission was declared to be, in part, to 
"develop Quartermaster items to meet chang- 
ing needs and conditions." 5 The Resources 
Division, with Colonel Doriot continuing as its 

2 For a fuller treatment of these developments see 
Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for Special Forces, pp. 

3 (1) Col L. O. Grice, "The Standardization 
Branch," QMR, XXI (March- April 1942), 23-24, 
103. (2) Gen Robert M. Littlejohn, "Clothing and 
Equipage," QMR, XXI (March-April 1942), 20-21. 

4 ( 1 ) Chief of OP&C Div to Dirs of Divs, OQMG, 
10 Sep 42, with attachments prepared by survey teams, 
subs: Memo of Recommendations on OQMG Procure- 
ment and Memo on Basic QMC Procurement Func- 
tions. (2) For a fuller discussion of the Piatt Report 
see Ch. I, above. 

5 OQMG OO 184, 31 Jul 42, sub: Reasgmt of 
QMC Functions. 



chief, became the Research and Development 
Branch of the new Military Planning Division. 
Quartermaster research with some exceptions 
was now centralized in the Research and De- 
velopment Branch, which continued to be the 
chief organization for product development in 
the OQMG during the remainder of the war. 

A broad assignment of responsibility was 
made to the Research and Development Branch. 
It initiated action to insure continued practical 
development of Quartermaster equipment; ap- 
proved all specifications for Quartermaster 
items; ascertained problems of production and 
materials, recommending solutions; and super- 
vised conservation work as well as activities in 
the Corps concerned with the operations of the 
Controlled Materials Plan. In collaboration 
with other divisions of the OQMG, the Re- 
search and Development Branch prepared the 
Master Production Schedule and translated 
schedules for end items into requirements for 
raw materials. It co-ordinated the testing activ- 
ities of the Corps, represented the OQMG on 
the technical committees of other arms and 
services, and served as the executive office of the 
QMCTC. The products sections of the branch 
had the primary responsibility for the develop- 
ment of specific items assigned to them. Al- 
though a number of organizational adjustments 
were later made within the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch, the organization for the devel- 
opment of Quartermaster items of clothing and 
equipment had, by the end of 1942, taken on a 
more or less fixed form for the duration of the 
war. 6 

While in theory all research activity of the 
QMC was centralized in the Research and De- 
velopment Branch when the OQMG was re- 
organized along functional lines after March 
1942, in practice this centralization took place 
slowly and was not completely accomplished 
during the war. For many months there was 
friction between the Subsistence Branch of the 
Storage and Distribution Division and the Re- 

search and Development Branch of the Military 
Planning Division over responsibility for re- 
search in subsistence and in the packaging of 
subsistence. It was the end of 1942 before this 
difficulty had been settled to the satisfaction of 
both divisions. Responsibility for research in 
packing was never vested in the Military Plan- 
ning Division but remained with the Storage 
and Distribution Division throughout the war. 
Similarly, when petroleum procurement for the 
Army was centralized in an integrated com- 
modity organization in the OQMG called the 
Fuels and Lubricants Division, that division 
was also given responsibility for the develop- 
ment of containers and petroleum equipment 
despite the contention of the director of the 
Military Planning Division that all research 
concerning Quartermaster items should be con- 
centrated in the Research and Development 
Branch. 7 

The Research and Development Branch co- 
ordinated the research activities of all QMC 
agencies in the field. Notable among these were 
four of the Quartermaster procuring depots- 
Boston, Philadelphia, Jeffersonville, and Chi- 
cago. Boston specialized in footwear; Philadel- 
phia in clothing and textiles; Jeffersonville in 
mechanical items, webbing, tentage, and tent- 
age textiles; and Chicago in subsistence. In the 
years before the national emergency, the larger 
part of such research work as was done by the 
QMC was actually conducted at these depots, 
or by private manufacturers co-operating under 
their direction. Problems of equipment design, 
presented to the Corps from the using forces, 
were ordinarily cleared through the OQMG 
and referred to the appropriate depots for re- 
commended solution. The Philadelphia and 

6 See Chart 5. 

7 (1) OQMG OO 24-37B, 25 Aug 43, sub: Re- 
sponsibility for Spec, Design, R&D of Containers for 
Petri Products. (2) OQMG OO 25-70, 25 Mar 44, 
sub: Asgmt of Responsibility for Equip Especially De- 
signed for Handling of Petri Products. (3) Dir of Mil 
Ping Div to the Deputy QMG, 4 Aug 43, no sub. 



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Jeffersonville depots maintained manufacturing 
plants, producing many of the items within 
their respective fields. These two depots con- 
tained quality-control laboratories which tested 
for specification purposes samples of items 
under procurement taken from the production 
line. In these laboratories, too, a certain amount 
of experimental work was carried on to im- 
prove existing items and develop new ones. 8 

All the varied activities of the depots were, 
of course, greatly expanded with the national 
emergency. The facilities of the Philadelphia 
and Jeffersonville laboratories were enlarged 
and modernized. In the vast developmental pro- 
gram incident to the preparation of suitable 
clothing and equipment for the wartime Army, 
they became a leading reliance of the QMC. 
Even before the great expansion of the Army, 
the Philadelphia Depot was engaged in a con- 
siderable variety of research and developmental 
projects in clothing and textiles. By August 
1942 it was conducting studies and tests rang- 
ing from the water absorption of resin-coated 
fabrics to the reconditioning of World War I 
buttons. At the same time the Jeffersonville 
Depot was working on a number of projects 
looking toward the substitution of more avail- 
able materials for strategic metals in Quarter- 
master items, the improvement of tentage duck, 
the study of rot- and mildew-resistant com- 
pounds, and the improvement or initial devel- 
opment of a number of duck and mechanical 
items. In September 1942 the Boston Depot re- 
ported activity on a number of projects for the 
improvement of the design of the service shoe 
as well as studies for the conservation of rubber 
in the arctic overshoe and the jungle boot. Such 
projects are illustrative of the research activities 
pursued by the depots — the prime agencies of 
the Corps in meeting its basic responsibility of 
supplying the Army. 

If the Research and Development Branch of 
the Military Planning Division had difficulty in 
securing recognition in the OQMG of its re- 

sponsibility for research, it also encountered op- 
position from the depots. Like other long-estab- 
lished field agencies in any widespread organ- 
ization, they tended to generate their own 
esprit de corps, their own local loyalties, and their 
own jealously guarded prerogatives. In connec- 
tion with developmental work they had over a 
period of years built up a tradition of semi-in- 
dependence, which was little disturbed during 
the first years of the emergency. When the re- 
search and development organization within 
the OQMG began to take on final form, how- 
ever, it started to assert control over the research 
activities of the depots. 

Full co-ordination was not secured without 
some pressure. In May 1942 the depots were 
first required to submit to the OQMG regular 
monthly reports showing the status of all their 
projects. 9 A few months later information in 
the OQMG on the research activities of one of 
the depots was still very meager. It was neces- 
sary for The Quartermaster General to reiterate 
that responsibility for "supervising and coor- 
dinating all research, development and engi- 
neering of Quartermaster supplies and equip- 
ment" was vested in the Production Service. To 
secure better co-ordination he soon directed that 
all depot research and developmental projects 
be submitted to the OQMG for approval be- 
fore work was started on them. 10 

8 ( 1) The growth and activities of the textile lab- 
oratory of the Philadelphia Quartermaster Depot are 
described at considerable length in a report by James 
A. Barnes, The Laboratory: Philadelphia Quartermas- 
ter Depot, July 1943. (2) Two reports by David 
Spence Hill, The Engineering Division, June 1943, 
and The Manufacturing Division, September 1943, 
cover the work of the laboratory and manufacturing 
plant at the Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot. These 
are all typescript reports prepared under the direction 
of, and filed with, the Historical Section, OQMG. 

9 Ltr, TQMG to CG PQMD et ah, 13 May 42, sub: 
R&D Projects. 

10 (1) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Brig Gen Allen 
R. Kimball, JQMD, 18 Jul 42, no sub. (2) Ltr, Gen 
Gregory to CG JQMD, 4 Aug 42, no sub. (3) Ltr, 
Gen Gregory to CG JQMD, 8 Aug 42, sub: R&D 
Projects. All in 400.112. 



The depots had traditionally written many of 
the specifications for the items which they pro- 
cured and had a tendency to take over this func- 
tion more or less completely. The responsibility 
of the Research and Development Branch in 
this respect was now underscored. It was em- 
phasized that this office would "furnish recom- 
mendations where necessary on specifications to 
be written by the depots since this office is in 
closer contact with the varying needs of differ- 
ent sections of the Army and with the changing 
availability of materials and facilities." n Even 
emergency specifications were to be submitted 
to the central office for concurrence. 

A policy of making frequent visits to the de- 
pots to discuss problems, the submission of 
regular depot reports, and the approval of re- 
search projects and emergency specifications by 
the OQMG brought a closer integration of the 
research activities of the depots with the Quar- 
termaster program as a whole and made the or- 
ganization into a more effective working team. 
The control of the Research and Development 
Branch over depot research was further strength- 
ened in the autumn of 1943 by an order which 
specifically made the assignment of projects to, 
and the direction of technical activities in, all 
Quartermaster research laboratories "the direct 
responsibility of the Military Planning Divi- 
sion." 12 

The official QMC field testing agency was the 
Quartermaster Board, which conducted tests at 
the request of the Research and Development 
Branch. Created by direction of the Chief of 
Staff, U.S. Army, in 1934 at the Quartermaster 
School in Philadelphia, this board was re-estab- 
lished in 1942 at Camp Lee, Va., the chief train- 
ing center for the QMC during World War II. 13 
Its president was directly responsible to The 
Quartermaster General in all technical matters. 
While the Quartermaster Board had been estab- 
lished under a broad charter, its chief activity 
became that of field testing clothing and equip- 
ment. Under Col. Max R. Wainer, director of 

the board, testing of various new items began 
shortly after the board moved to Camp Lee and 
increased rapidly thereafter. 

Field testing, as done by the board, was not 
intended to be a substitute for laboratory test- 
ing but rather its complement. Field testing was 
divided into two main groups, normal and ex- 
pedited testing. In normal testing items were 
used by personnel in the performance of regular 
daily activities. In expedited testing the life 
span of an article was compressed into a frac- 
tion of its normal expected life. Expedited test- 
ing was used when time was a major considera- 
tion, while normal testing permitted a finer 
degree of accuracy. 14 

Both special and fixed installations were used 
for testing items. To test various types of 
mechanical devices, where a high degree of op- 
erating skill might be required and the utmost 
control be essential, special installations which 
could be dismantled at the end of the test were 
set up for individual tests. On the other hand, 
fixed installations, such as the shoe test track 
and the combat course, 15 were set up at the 
Quartermaster Board for many of the tests on 
footgear and clothing. By the use of these prov- 
ing grounds definite patterns of wear could be 
established. Still another method was to test 
under controlled conditions. Thus, a principal 
test method involved the use of many samples 
of clothing and equipment items by troops en- 
gaged in controlled activities in the field. In this 
type of testing actual tactical problems were de- 
vised and were executed by trained units of men 
under conditions designed to duplicate realis- 
tically field conditions to which the items under 

11 Mil Ping Div to Insp Div, OQMG, 5 Oct 42, 
sub: Insp Rpt at JQMD. 

12 OQMG OO 25-56, 25 Oct 43, sub: Mil Plng- 
QM R&D Activities. 

15 (1) AR 30-10, 8 Jun 34, sub: QM Bd. (2) 
OQMG OO 18, 19 Jan 42, sub: QM Bd. 

14 Rpt, Col Wainer to OQMG, Fid Testing Proce- 
dures, QM Bd, Camp Lee, Va. [circa 1943]. 

15 See Charts 6 and 7. 



consideration might be subjected. Another 
method, invariably supplemented by other ap- 
proaches, employed considerable numbers of 
samples, and personnel engaged in their nor- 
mal duties. Personnel of the regular training 
regiments at Camp Lee were equipped with the 
materials undergoing test, and observers and 
recorders were attached to such units during the 
test period. 

Another important QMC testing agency for 
clothing and equipment, established after the 
war began, was the Climatic Research Labora- 
tory, at Lawrence, Mass. This laboratory was 
first projected by Dr. Paul A. Siple, authority 
on the Antarctic, when he was temporarily em- 
ployed by the Corps as an analyst of cold-cli- 
mate clothing in the summer and autumn of 
1941. He believed that the Corps, with its vast 
and increasing responsibility for clothing and 
equipping troops for service in varied climates, 
should have under its own control a fully 
equipped laboratory where extreme conditions 
of both cold and heat could be produced. There 
the techniques of the physiologist, the physicist, 
the textile expert, and the climatologist could 
be applied and the results synthesized to place 
the selection of clothing for any given environ- 
ment on a really scientific basis. 16 Dr. Siple be- 
lieved such a laboratory was particularly essen- 
tial inasmuch as physiological laboratories had 
not taken into consideration the effects of 
clothing in their studies of climatic stress. He 
was given carte blanche to organize the labora- 
tory, although by agreement with the chief of 
the Research and Development Branch he was 
not obliged to operate the laboratory. Instead 
he was permitted to set up a companion clima- 
tology unit in the branch in which to work out 
more of his ideas. 

While considerable time elapsed before the 
laboratory was eventually established, by March 
1943 it had begun the testing of cold-climate 
clothing and equipment. Lt. Col. John H. Tal- 
bott of the Medical Corps, who had long been 

associated with the work of the Harvard Fatigue 
Laboratory, was appointed to take charge of the 
laboratory. Its work expanded rapidly. Later the 
Climatic Research Laboratory constructed a hot 
chamber where desert and jungle conditions 
could be simulated. The laboratory became the 
principal facility of the Research and Develop- 
ment Branch in the performance of such tests 
on clothing and equipment for climatic ex- 
tremes as could be performed in a laboratory, 
though much testing of this nature continued 
to be done also in co-operating private labora- 
tories. 17 

Testing of new items of Quartermaster issue 
by the Army service boards had long been part 
of the regular procedure leading to standardiza- 
tion. These boards were organizations set up by 
the chief of each technical service to test items 
that were developed, and such testing continued 
during the war. In addition, the Research and 
Development Branch was responsible for secur- 
ing the collaboration of a considerable number 
of governmental and private agencies in this 
work. Governmental agencies which carried on 
laboratory work for the Corps included the Na- 
tional Bureau of Standards, the official govern- 
ment testing agency, which in normal times 

16 (1) Ltr, Dr. Siple to Col Grice, OQMG, 28 Oct 
41, no sub. (2) Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for 
Special Forces, pp. 279-81. 

17 ( 1 ) Authority for the establishment of the labora- 
tory was formally received from the Commanding 
General, SOS, 7 January 1943, and its activation was 
officially confirmed 4 February 1943. AGO Memo S 
30-5-43, 4 Feb 43, sub: Establishment of QM CRL, 
SPX 322.29 (1-20-43) OB-I-SPQ-MP-FH. (2) 
Construction of the laboratory was achieved by using 
maximum construction funds allowable to The Quar- 
termaster General without special approval of the SOS. 
Manpower as test subjects, however, had to be ap- 
proved and so for the first time the SOS became 
aware of the laboratory. SOS approval of the labora- 
tory was reluctant and was given only because it al- 
ready existed. Ltr, Dr. Siple to Maj Gen Orlando 
Ward, Chief of Military History, 10 Nov 50, with incl, 
no sub. ( 3) For a fuller discussion of these develop- 
ments see Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for Special 
Forces, pp. 282-92. 
































was the principal reliance of the Corps for lab- 
oratory testing of materials, and the Textile 
Foundation, another agency in the Department 
of Commerce. The laboratory and reference 
facilities of the Department of Agriculture and 
the Department of the Interior also gave con- 
siderable assistance in the work of the Research 
and Development Branch. 

The Office of Scientific Research and Devel- 
opment (OSRD), established by executive 
order in 1941 for the purpose of assuring ade- 
quate provision for research on scientific and 
medical problems relating to national defense, 
was of great and steadily increasing assistance 
to the OQMG in its developmental work. 
Fundamental research problems were ordinarily 
presented to the OSRD through the War De- 
partment liaison staff which had been set up for 
such clearance in Headquarters, ASF. Through 
its National Defense Research Committee the 
OSRD made available the facilities of govern- 
mental, university, and industrial laboratories 
all over the country for the solution of scientific 
problems. Assisted by this committee, the Mili- 
tary Planning Division placed contracts with 
the laboratories considered most able to per- 
form the desired research. In placing contracts 
the division also dealt directly with representa- 
tives of a particular industry or a university 

In addition, the Research and Development 
Branch had its own Advisory Board, composed 
of executives in various fields of research as well 
as outstanding scientists and explorers who 
were able either to contribute directly to the 
solution of specific problems or who headed or- 
ganizations with scientific personnel whose 
services could be made available. This board 
was organized in the spring of 1942, when the 
product development organization of the 
OQMG was taking on permanent form under 
the direction of Colonel Doriot. 

A number of university laboratories, special- 
izing in various fields, were called upon for 

assistance in the development of equipment. 
By posing questions and problems and by ana- 
lyzing reports, the Research and Development 
Branch guided its co-operating laboratories in 
the work to be accomplished. Among the uni- 
versity laboratories contributing to the results 
achieved, the Fatigue Laboratory of Harvard 
University was especially notable. When the 
war began this laboratory was under the direc- 
torship of Dr. David B. Dill, 18 who was suc- 
ceeded in 1941 by Dr. William Forbes as acting 
director. The laboratory had undertaken a 
broad program of physiological research, in- 
volving studies in all phases of the physiology 
of fatigue, including effects of heat, cold, and 
altitude on human efficiency. During the war 
it was engaged entirely on war research projects, 
nearly all of which concerned the OQMG. 
These included basic research on clothing prin- 
ciples, in particular the efficiency of Army cloth- 
ing, as well as nutritional studies. Its program 
was integrated with that of the Climatic Re- 
search Laboratory at Lawrence and the Subsist- 
ence Research Laboratory at Chicago. 19 As the 
new Climatic Research Laboratory came into 
action, work was divided between it and the 
Fatigue Laboratory. In general, practical tests of 
completed items were made by the Lawrence 
Laboratory, while research into the principles of 
design for clothing suitable to climatic extremes 
remained the function of the Harvard organ- 

Valuable work in the physiological testing of 
Quartermaster clothing for climatic extremes 
was also performed by Dr. Lovic P. Herrington 
and his staff of the John B. Pierce Laboratory 
of Hygiene at New Haven, Conn. The Depart- 
ment of Physiology at Indiana University under 

18 Dr. Dill, after becoming a lieutenant colonel, was 
transferred in the spring of 1943 from the Air Corps 
to the QMC to become Assistant for Product Analysis 
in the Research and Development Branch. 

19 For the work of the Subsistence Research Labora- 
tory see Ch. V, below. 



the direction of Dr. Sid Robinson also con- 
ducted laboratory testing of uniforms for hot 
climates. Assistance was given to the Research 
and Development Branch in the study of prob- 
lems of fiber, yarn, and fabric properties by the 
Textile Laboratories of the Massachusetts Insti- 
tute of Technology, under the direction of Pro- 
fessor Edward R. Schwartz. Leather problems 
were analyzed, by the research laboratory of the 
Tanners' Council located at the University of 

In wartime, as in peace, the Corps depended 
on private industry for a great part of its re- 
search and developmental work. In November 
1940, shortly after the first considerable enlarge- 
ment of the Army had taken place, there were 
some nineteen firms co-operating in eleven 
projects of the Supply Division. In January 
1942 more than 200 business firms were re- 
ported as engaged in co-operative development 
of seventy-five different items, aside from motor 
transport, for the QMC. These firms included 
leaders in the fields of chemicals, rubber, tex- 
tiles, clothing, leather goods, light metal 
products, chinaware, and others. 20 

Industry generally was eager, under the 
stimulus of war, to contribute its inventive 
genius, laboratory facilities, and technical skill 
to the solution of Quartermaster equipment 
problems. Many new products were regularly 
brought to the attention of the OQMG as of- 
fering possibilities in the way of meeting Army 
needs. As early as February 1941 the flood of 
such offerings had become so great that there 
was established a special Quartermaster Equip- 
ment Board within the Supply Division for the 
purpose of passing upon new articles and pro- 
posed changes in design submitted by manufac- 
turers and others. The OQMG also, through its 
varied technical staff, attempted to keep in 
touch with all pertinent technical advances in 
industry, and frequently inquired for samples of 
new materials or finished items which might 
have Quartermaster application. 

When a new item was needed, or field reports 
indicated the necessity of an improvement in 
design, whole industrial groups were often 
called upon to offer their suggestions or to take 
up the necessary development with their own 
facilities. Thus, when a new stove, small and 
light enough to be carried in the rucksack, was 
needed for mountain troops, a meeting of the 
design engineers of nine of the leading stove 
manufacturers of the country was called at the 
Chicago Quartermaster Depot, and the problem 
was presented to them. When the QMC took 
over from the Ordnance Department the devel- 
opment of the liner for the new steel helmet, 
half a dozen manufacturers of plastics and other 
firms interested in the problem were brought 
into conference and asked to pool their re- 
sources in order to hasten the development and 
mass production of this badly needed item. 
When trouble with the burner of the M-1937 
field range persisted in the field, the Coleman 
Lamp and Stove Company and the American 
Gas Machine Company, two of the leading 
firms in the development of gasoline-burning 
equipment, with the Ethyl Corporation, research 
authority on leaded gasoline, were asked to co- 
operate and produce a better burner. 21 

The Research and Development Branch dealt 
with industrial firms, as far as practicable, 
through committees and associations set up by 
the various industries for their common benefit. 
Many such associations were established during 
the war to handle the highly specialized prob- 
lems growing out of the needs of the armed 

20 ( 1 ) Sup Div to Admin Div, OQMG, 29 Nov 40, 
sub: Commercial Cooperation in R&D, 400.312. (2) 
Ltr, TAG to TQMG, 18 Oct 41, same sub. AG 400.114 
(10-17-41) MB-D. (3) 1st ind, Col F. H. Pope, 
OQMG, to TAG, 1 Jan 42, on same. 

21 (1) Dir of Production, Resources Div, to Dir of 
Procurement, OQMG, 21 May 42, sub: Ski Stoves. 
(2) Memo, unsigned, 4 Jun 42, sub: Production Pro- 
gram for Cold Climate Stove. (3) Conference on Hel- 
met Liners, 14 Jan 42. (4) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, 
to American Gas Machine Co, 17 Sep 42, no sub. 
(5) Ltr, Col Doriot to Ethyl Corp, 19 Sep 42, no sub. 



forces. Conferences with such associations, at 
the call of the OQMG, were part of the regular 
routine of the office. Sometimes such an organ- 
ization, with its member firms working on con- 
tracts for the same item, would take the initia- 
tive and call a conference to discuss and present 
to the QMC problems of production and sug- 
gestions for the improvement of designs. 

The contributions of American industry to 
the development of Quartermaster clothing and 
equipment eventually became almost infinite in 
number and variety. They ranged from minor 
suggestions as to the design of a relatively sim- 
ple piece of wearing apparel to the development, 
sometimes by a single firm, of a complicated 
mechanical item. Hundreds of industrial organ- 
izations in many fields of production aided, 
with consultant service, individual or co-opera- 
tive design, or laboratory testing of the finished 
product, in the solution of the developmental 
problems of the OQMG. 

Development and Standardization Procedure 

The general procedure to be followed in the 
work of research, development, and classifica- 
tion of items of equipment for the Army was 
prescribed by AR 850-25. This regulation, as 
revised in 1943, stated in substance that research 
and development were functions of the techni- 
cal services under the general direction of the 
Commanding General, ASF, or in case of Air 
Force items, of the Commanding General, AAF. 
Under established procedure a developmental 
project was initiated whenever a using arm de- 
cided that a given development was desirable. 
The using arm also formulated the statement 
of the military characteristics which the pro- 
jected item was to possess. The development 
was then co-ordinated through the technical 
committee of the service charged with the pro- 
curement of that class of equipment. The pro- 
curement of experimental types was approved 
by the Commanding General, ASF, after which 

the necessary developmental program was pre- 
pared by the chief of the technical service con- 
cerned. Development was pursued in close 
liaison with the using arm. When experimental 
types had been developed and procured, they 
underwent engineering tests, conducted by the 
technical service, to determine their engineering 
soundness, and service tests, conducted by the 
using arms and services, to determine their suit- 
ability for service use. The developing service 
co-ordinated all tests to insure that they were 
comprehensive, without incurring delay or du- 
plication of effort. Classification of the item 
after testing was recommended by the using 
arm or service, co-ordinated through the appro- 
priate technical committee. This committee 
submitted recommendation for classification to 
the Commanding General, ASF, for approval. 
The classification of an item as standard or sub- 
stitute standard permitted determination of the 
basis of issue and procurement planning for 
production. Specifications were prepared by the 
technical service and submitted to the Com- 
manding General, ASF, for approval. 2 - 

Within this general framework, a consider- 
able variety of detailed procedures was possible. 
The actual inspiration for a new item of Quar- 
termaster equipment might come from any one 
of a number of sources — the presentation of a 
new device by a manufacturer or inventor, the 
idea of a technician in the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch or in one of the manufacturing 
depots, a report from an observer or a unit on 
maneuvers or in a theater of operations calling 
attention to a deficiency or a need, the examina- 
tion of a piece of captured enemy equipment, 
the need for conserving a critical material, or 
the alteration of a related item. If the project 
originated in or first came to the attention of 
the Research and Development Branch and was 
approved there, normal procedure called for a 
request to be submitted to Headquarters, ASF, 

22 AR 850-25, 30 Jun 43, sub: Development, Classi- 
fication of, and Specs for Types of Equip. 



for permission to develop the item experimen- 
tally. If the project first cleared through Head- 
quarters, ASF, and was approved there, the 
Research and Development Branch would learn 
of the proposed item by way of a directive to 
carry on such experimental development. In 
either case, research to determine the military 
characteristics of the desired new item was the 
next step. Technicians of the branch usually se- 
cured the collaboration of personnel of the using 
arms in this work, which involved the study of 
the functions to be performed by the item, the 
prospective military and geographic conditions 
of its use, the review of similar existing equip- 
ment, and the functional relationship of the 
proposed item to other pieces of equipment. 
Preparation of the design followed, most often 
with the assistance of one of the Quartermaster 
manufacturing depots, an industrial firm, or a 
whole industrial group. An experimental order 
would then be placed with a manufacturer, or 
the necessary test samples might be made in a 
manufacturing depot. 

When samples sufficient for testing had been 
procured, laboratory tests would be undertaken 
under the direction of the Test Section. These 
tests might be conducted in the Corps' own 
facilities— the manufacturing and testing depots 
or the Climatic Research Laboratory, for exam- 
ple. They might be made by a co-operating 
agency, such as a government, university, or in- 
dustrial laboratory. Field tests followed, co- 
ordinated but not directed by the Test Section. 
These were usually conducted by a number of 
appropriate service boards, normally including 
the Quartermaster Board. 

On the completion of the test program, the 
item was presented to the QMCTC for adop- 
tion. In this committee, which usually operated 
through subcommittees, the arms and service 
which were interested in the item were able 
through their representatives to make known 
their views. If the item was approved by the 
committee, it was forwarded to Headquarters, 

ASF, for final adoption. A new item might be 
adopted as "standard," representing the highest 
qualifications for the purpose intended and 
therefore preferred for procurement. Or it might 
be classified as "substitute standard," represent- 
ing something less than the most desirable 
qualifications but the best immediately available 
because of material shortage or for some other 
reason. It could therefore be procured as a sub- 
stitute for a standard article. With the develop- 
ment of a new item to replace another, the latter 
might be reclassified as "limited standard," rep- 
resenting an article which did not have as satis- 
factory military characteristics as a standard 
article, but which could be used as a substitute 
since it was either in use or available for issue 
to meet supply demands. Upon the adoption of 
the item, a basis of issue for it was prepared, 
specifications were written, and a plan for its 
procurement was drawn up. 23 

The organizational background was identical 
for product development in both clothing and 
equipment 24 and consequently has been here 
presented as a unit, preliminary to discussion of 
the developmental work in these two fields. 
Since similar methods of testing were applied 
to items of clothing and equipment and the 
same general procedure was utilized to achieve 
their standardization, these aspects have also 
been treated at this point as a unit. Against this 
background the specific achievements in the 
development of clothing and equipment during 
the war years, as well as the trends and prob- 
lems involved in research in the clothing field, 
are analyzed in the following sections. 

The range of Quartermaster product develop- 
ment was wide. Hundreds of new items were 
developed during the war and many previously 

23 A considerable number of "case histories" of indi- 
vidual items have been drawn upon in the preparation 
of this brief account of the procedure followed in 
Quartermaster product development. 

24 The exceptions in the field of subsistence research 
are discussed below in Ch. V. 


adopted items were modified in the light of crit- 
icism from the field. Projects were initiated 
ranging in variety and complexity from the de- 
velopment of asbestos mittens to the design of 
command tents. Since only a selective account 
of this work is possible, primary emphasis has 
been placed on the development of items of 
combat clothing and equipment. In combat the 
enlisted man and the officer wore the same com- 
bat clothing whether it was herringbone twill in 
the Pacific or olive drab woolens in the ETO. 
New items, commonly used, have been empha- 
sized, although examples have been drawn from 
among the more specialized items to illustrate 
the impact of global war upon Quartermaster 

Winter Combat Clothing 

The American soldier went into World War 
II clad in a uniform evolved from that of World 
War I. In the wave of economy that swept Con- 
gress after 1918 it was deemed unnecessary for 
the Army to have a dress uniform. As a conse- 
quence, the combat uniform of World War I 
underwent gradual modifications in the interval 
of peace until it approached as nearly a dress 
uniform as it could. The basic uniform of World 
War I consisted of olive drab woolen service 
breeches and coat. The latter was designed as a 
single-breasted sack coat with a standing collar. 
Beginning in 1926 the "choker" collar of the 
coat gave way to a collar-and-lapel design, ne- 
cessitating the use of a tie. A black silk four-in- 
hand cravat was selected. Gradually during the 
thirties trousers replaced breeches as a standard 
part of the uniform, but it was not until 1 Feb- 
ruary 1939 that they were authorized for all 
arms and services. 25 

At the beginning of the emergency this 
service coat and the trousers comprised the 
basic uniform. It was not really a dress uniform, 
and, as was promptly disclosed in World War 

II, neither was it a good combat uniform, al- 
though a bi-swing back had been adopted for 
the coat late in 1939 as a means of providing a 
more functional garment. To meet its shortcom- 
ings a field jacket was designed and developed 
in the same year to be used in lieu of the service 
coat in the field. 26 Under the pressure of ma- 
terial shortages the silk tie gave way to a black 
wool worsted tie in 1940 and then to an olive 
drab mohair tie by the end of 1941. In 1939 
canvas leggings had replaced the spiral leggings 
of the World War I infantryman. 27 

Global war caught the Army short of cloth- 
ing specialized for extreme climatic environ- 
ments, and of necessity much of the early work 
on clothing was devoted to filling this need. In 
the development of cold-climate clothing, which 
was pushed first because of the urgent program 
of defense measures involving the sending of 
an enlarged garrison to Alaska, the OQMG 
utilized the principle of "layering." More and 
more, experienced cold-climate men had aban- 
doned the use of furs, using instead loosely 
woven woolens, covered by windproof gar- 
ments of light but finely woven cotton, to pro- 
tect the enclosed air from wind erosion. This 
layering principle had become widely accepted 
before the outbreak of World War II, and the 
OQMG, after utilizing it in the development of 
arctic combat clothing, also applied it in the 
development of the standard winter combat 
uniform of the American soldier. 

25 (1) AR 600-35, 31 Dec 26, sub: Prescribed Uni- 
form. (2) AR 600-40, 31 Dec 26, sub: Wearing of 
Uniform. (3) WD Cir 71, Sec. I, 23 Nov 38, sub: Sv 

26 ( 1 ) Ltr, Brig Gen A. B. Warfield, OQMG, to 
ASW, 6 Feb 40, sub: Procurement Clearance on US 
Spec 8-31D, EM's Sv Coat. (2) 1st ind, ASW to 
TQMG, 7 Feb 40, on same, 400.1141. (3) Ltr, Gen 
Corbin, to ACofS G-4, 21 Sep 40, sub: Windbreakers. 

27 ( 1 ) Ltr, Gen Corbin, OQMG, to TAG, 7 Dec 40, 
sub: Neckties, and 2d ind, AG to TQMG, 2 Jan 41. 
(2) Ltr, Gen Corbin, to ACofS G-4, 4 Feb 42, same 
sub, and 2d ind, AG to TQMG, 24 Feb 42. (3) Min 
of QMCTC, 13 Jan 39. 




In line with this development was the adop- 
tion of a plush-type or "pile" material for inner 
garments. The idea of shifting away from the 
use of furs as a major reliance in the design of 
cold-climate clothing was particularly stimu- 
lated in 1941 by the upholstery industry, which 
was in search of new business since the automo- 
bile industry, under government compulsion, 
was cutting down on its production of pleasure 
cars. Once tests had demonstrated early in 1942 
that satisfactory clothing for arctic use could be 
made of pile, more and more cold- weather gar- 
ments, such as caps and liners for field jackets 
and parka overcoats, were made of this 
material. 28 

The Army's initial emphasis on special troop 
organizations resulted in concentration on the 
development of specialized clothing to meet 
the needs of such units. Thus, special cold- 
climate clothing was designed for the new 
mountain troops. The Armored Force asked for 
and received a different winter uniform, snug 
fitting and with a minimum of protrusions, for 
wear in tanks. Another special uniform and spe- 
cial jumping boots were developed for para- 
chute troops. For a time it seemed that there 
was to be no end to the specialty uniforms, each 
bringing its own new production problems. 
Their bewildering variety placed a heavy burden 
upon the system of distribution, and it was in- 
evitable that a reaction should set in. After the 
first year of the war Quartermaster efforts were 
centered on the development of combat clothing 
adaptable to general issue. 

Developmental work on the winter combat 
uniform was initiated early in the fall of 1942 
when Col. David H. Cowles, then chief of the 
Military Planning Division, requested the early 
development of a combat jacket and trousers. 
It was proposed to use 9-ounce sateen or a fabric 
having similar wind- and tear-resistant charac- 
teristics for the new battle trousers and jacket 
in order to provide a satisfactory wind-resistant 
outer shell. The theory was that these garments, 

when worn alone, would provide a battle dress 
for mild weather; when combined with pile 
fabric liners, they would offer adequate protec- 
tion for severe weather. It was thought that the 
combination of wind-resistant, water-repellent, 
cotton outer shell and pile liner would permit 
the elimination of the overcoat, the mackinaw, 
and the olive drab field jacket. 29 

An experimental combat outfit was soon 
under test, but developmental work progressed 
slowly, since differences of opinion arose be- 
tween the ETO and the OQMG as to what 
constituted the most desirable combat outfit. 
The Research and Development Branch sup- 
ported the use of the layering principle. The 
new winter combat uniform }0 it developed con- 
sisted basically of a cotton outer shell with 
layers of insulation added inside as warmth was 
needed. The cotton outer shell consisted of 
olive drab field trousers and a field jacket, 
M-1943, both made of 9-ounce sateen, for 
which 9-ounce oxford cloth was later substi- 
tuted in 1945 as an improved wind-resistant 

In the process of standardizing a basic combat 
uniform, the object of the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch was to simplify the clothing 
issued to the enlisted man by eliminating many 
special types. Thus, the assembly of wool trou- 
sers and cotton outer shell which was standard- 
ized by the summer of 1943 51 replaced five 
other types heretofore issued to the soldiers. 
Kersey-lined trousers, winter-combat trousers, 
mountain trousers, wool ski trousers, and para- 
chute-jumper trousers were all declared limited 
standard. Similarly, five different types of 

28 Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment for Special Forces, 
pp. 26-27. 

29 Ltr, Brig Gen J. L. Frink, OQMG, to QM Bd, 21 
Dec 42, sub: Battle Clo, Test QMB T-166. 

30 For a full discussion of the development of this 
uniform see Risch and Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of 
World War II, pp. 47ff. 

»' QMCTC, min of mtg No. 15, 13 Jul 43. 






FIELD JACKET M-1943. Note buttoned collar (left) and adjustable tie cord (right). 

jackets " previously issued were replaced by the 
field jacket, M-1943, which was standardized on 
12 August 1943. 33 This new jacket, developed 
along windbreaker lines, provided many new 
functional characteristics lacking in the previous 
field jacket. Its greatly improved closures at 
throat, cufT, and waist gave added protection 
against wind. Its four large cargo pockets pro- 
vided substantial carrying capacity. Its full- 
bloused effect afforded freedom of movement, 
and its design was such that the jacket could 
be worn satisfactorily by itself or over successive 
layers of wool underwear, wool shirt, high-neck 
sweater, and pile jacket. This new combat uni- 
form was tested not only in this country but 
also at Anzio by the 3d Division. Subsequently, 
when publicity on the new uniform was re- 
leased, it was reported that the new battle dress 

had "terrific effect on the morale of the men" 
who wore it on the Fifth Army beachhead in 
Italy. 34 As a result of the 3d Division's favor- 
able report, the combat uniform was approved 
and requisitioned by the North African Theater 
(NATO). 3 ' 

While the Research and Development Branch 
sponsored the layering principle in the new 

52 The arctic, winter combat, mountain, and para- 
chute-jumper jackets were declared limited standard 
at the same time. Subsequently, the old style, olive 
drab field jacket was also made a limited standard arti- 
cle of issue. 

33 (1) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 15, 13 Jul 43. (2) 
Ltr, OQMG to Hq ASF, 29 Jul 43, no sub, and 2d ind, 
Hq ASF to TQMG, 12 Aug 43. 

34 The New York Times, May 6, 1944. 

35 Memo, Col Doriot, OQMG, for Lt Col James 
Stack, Opns Div, WDGS, 9 Oct 44, sub: New Com- 
bat Uniform. 




combat uniform it was developing, Headquar- 
ters, ETO, advocated a uniform similar to the 
British battle dress. They indorsed a short wool 
jacket as the outer garment of the combat uni- 
form. As early as 1942 the idea of what later 
evolved into the wool field jacket was con- 
ceived by Maj. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, Chief 
Quartermaster, ETO, under whose direction the 
design and development of the ETO jacket 
were perfected by Lt. Col. Robert L. Cohen. A 
considerable number of such jackets was locally 
procured, and, after extensive tests had been 
conducted among the field forces in England 
during the summer of 1943, specific recommen- 
dations were made to the War Department. 36 In 
the fall of 1943 further impetus was given to 
this project by a letter from General Eisenhower 
to General Marshall, which in turn was passed 
on to The Quartermaster General, suggesting 
that a wool jacket, along the lines of the British 
battle jacket but with a distinctive style, be 

The OQMG had been working on its combat 
uniform to replace the multiplicity of uniforms 
then plaguing distribution, and it did not view 
favorably the development of still another uni- 
form. From the beginning therefore it sought 
to place the wool field jacket in the layering 
pattern that it had adopted. It was aware of de- 
velopments in the ETO, and upon the basis of 
analysis of the British battle dress, it developed 
a series of model jackets which, beginning in 
September 1943, the office sent to the Chief 
Quartermaster of the ETO. These were even- 
tually modified to produce one model that in- 
corporated all desirable features. A model of the 
wool field jacket developed by the Research and 
Development Branch was shown to the Chief 
Quartermaster, ETO, and his staff on 16 Feb- 
ruary 1944. They regarded the jacket as inferior 
to the ETO-style jacket developed in England. 
Furthermore, they stated that it could not be 
produced in quantity in the ETO. Since issues 
had already been made of the ETO-style jacket, 

the American type, it was argued, would only 
complicate matters by offering two contrasting 
styles of the same garment. 

The OQMG and the ETO were moving 
toward agreement on design, but there were 
deep differences of opinion on the place of the 
wool jacket in the uniform system. The OQMG, 
guided by a physiological-climatological ap- 
proach to the problem, embraced the applica- 
tion of the layering principle. It was convinced 
that the wool jacket, which could be worn for 
both combat and dress, should replace the coats 
of the enlisted man and the officer, at least in 
theaters of operations." From the standpoint of 
warmth, the garment was regarded as adequate 
for wear in the temperate zone when combined 
with the field jacket, M-1943, wool shirt, and 
wool undergarments. On the other hand, it felt 
that the proposed ETO uniform without the 
M-1943 jacket was "sadly lacking in water re- 
pellent items" and would not be adequate for 
the wet-cold weather conditions that prevailed 
in France. 58 

The OQMG attempted to keep the theater 
informed on the new items being developed, 
but this could only be accomplished by letter, 
since the office had at first no success in obtain- 
ing approval for observers to visit the theater. 
Early in February 1944, however, Capt. William 
F. Pounder was sent to the ETO as a field ob- 
server to exhibit the new combat uniform de- 

36 (1) Ltr, Gen Littlejohn to Gen Somervell, CG 
ASF, 3 Mar 45, no sub, and incls, of which see Sec. V, 
sub: Jacket, Fid, Wool, Personal Papers of Gen Little- 
john. (2) Ltr, Maj Gen John C. H. Lee, CG SOS ETO, 
to CG ETOUSA, 14 Sep 43, no sub, enclosing pam- 
phlet, ETO Jacket, Fid, Wool, OD. USFET AG 421 
Uniforms. (3) For details of the ETO development, 
see I. G. Cheslaw and W. C. Chaikin, Quartermaster 
Operations in the War Against Germany, in prepara- 
tion for this series. 

57 (1) Memo, Gen Gregory for Gen Somervell, 28 
Jan 44, no sub. (2) Memo, Brig Gen H. Feldman, 
OQMG, for Hq ASF, 23 Mar 44, sub: Wool Fid Jacket. 
Both in 421.1. 

,8 Ltr, Capt W. F. Pounder, Fid Observer, to Col 
Doriot, OQMG, 30 Jun 44, no sub. 



veloped by the Research and Development 
Branch, but the theater was reluctant to have 
him demonstrate the items to supply officers. 
The Chief Quartermaster had at first been much 
interested in the field jacket, M-1943, and its 
use with the wool field jacket fitted into ETO 
plans, but only if it could be obtained in suffi- 
cient quantities to dress units uniformly. The 
small amount of depot stocks then available and 
the low production figures were disappoint- 
ing. 39 Time and availability were the problems. 

General Littlejohn made a personal visit to 
the United States in the spring of 1944 in an 
effort to expedite the approval of the final de- 
sign and the initiation of production of the 
wool field jacket. On 18 April samples of the 
latest jackets were reviewed by representatives 
of the Chief Quartermaster, ETO, the ASF, and 
the Military Planning Division, OQMG. Inso- 
far as developmental questions were concerned, 
a basic design was agreed upon with certain 
modifications in detail of design recommended 
for further investigation. On the other hand, 
decisions at this conference on availability and 
the supply of jackets apparently were not defini- 
tive and clear and became the crux of the later 
controversy on winter clothing. 40 Jackets em- 
bodying the conference modifications were sub- 
mitted for final approval to Headquarters, ASF, 
and to the Quartermaster, ETO. The following 
month Headquarters, ASF, directed that the 
wool field jacket be presented to QMCTC for 
classification as to type, but such action was 
deferred in order to give the using arms and 
services time to consider their requirements for 
the garment. Not until 2 November 1944 was 
the wool field jacket classified as the standard 
item of issue and the wool serge coat reclassified 
as limited standard. 41 

This wool field jacket had been designed pri- 
marily as a field garment which could also be 
used for dress purposes. It was a component 
part of the combat uniform, but in extremely 
cold climates the pile liner was substituted for 

it. The wool field jacket was supposed to be so 
fitted that it could be worn over the wool un- 
dershirt, flannel shirt, and high-neck sweater, 
and under the field jacket, M-1943. The appli- 
cation of the layering principle, however, broke 
down in practice because men would not wear 
the wool field jacket in combat, preferring to 
save it for dress wear when they were returned 
to rest areas. 

The existing lack of knowledge of the War 
Department uniform as a complete unit and the 
limited use made of the M-1943 assembly dur- 
ing the war prevented a thorough combat test 
of the assembly. It was not used in the ETO, 
where the wool field jacket was not issued in 
quantity during hostilities, although experi- 
mental quantities were issued to troops in the 
field. Only in Italy during the winter of 1944-45 
was the M-1943 assembly used as planned. 
Even when the assembly was issued as a unit, 
troops tended to regard the wool field jacket as 
a dress item and they did not wear it in combat. 
The sweater and the field jacket, M-1943, alone 
were not sufficient to keep the men warm in 
severe weather. Information obtained at Camp 
Lee from men returning from the Mediterranean 
Theater revealed that they obtained the addi- 
tional warmth made necessary by their refusal 
to wear the short wool jacket for both combat 
and dress either by wearing two sweaters or by 
cutting a blanket to fit and sewing it inside the 
jacket, M-1943. 42 

39 Ltr, Pounder to Doriot, 29 Mar 44, no sub. 

40 For the supply aspects of this controversy, see 
Cheslaw and Chaikin, Quartermaster Operations in the 
War Against Germany. 

41 ( 1 ) Memo, Dir of Reqmts Div, ASF, for TQMG, 
10 May 44, sub: Wool Fid Jacket, and 1st ind, Col 
Doriot to CG ASF, 31 May 44. (2) Min subcom mtg, 
QMCTC, 16 May 44, same sub. (3) Memo, Col 
Doriot, OQMG, for CG ASF, 5 Oct 44, same sub, 
and 2d ind, Col M.. M. Irvine, Actg Dir of R&D Div, 
ASF, to TQMG, 2 Nov 44. 

42 ( 1 ) Asst for Product Analysis to Clothing Sec, 
R&D Br, OQMG, 22 May 45, sub: Observation Rpt 
Abstract. (2) Rpt of Investigating Committee, 16 May 
45, sub: Investigation Supply of Clothing in ETO. At 



These facts were confirmed by the findings of 
a representative of the Clothing Section of the 
Research and Development Branch, who visited 
the ETO in the summer of 1945. He, too, found 
that soldiers had a tendency to have the jacket 
fitted too small for combat use because they 
thought of it in terms of a dress item. The diffi- 
culties in fitting the jacket had developed be- 
cause it was not understood to be a component 
part of the field uniform. Conditions were cor- 
rected by instructing personnel responsible for 
the issue of the jacket on its purpose, how it 
should be worn, and how it should be fitted in 
conjunction with the various layers of the com- 
bat unit to obtain the maximum flexibility and 
functional benefit from the item. 4? 

Fundamentally the new combat uniform of 
1944 was the same uniform that the OQMG, in 
conjunction with a board of officers from the 
AGF, had recommended in March of 1943. In 
lieu of the pile jacket liner the short wool jacket 
was substituted, although for extremely cold 
areas the pile liner was still utilized. As a result 
of repeated requests from field observers, one 
new item was added to the outfit in 1944, 
namely, a hood for the field jacket, M-1943. 
With the new combat uniform the American 
soldier wore a newly designed, olive drab, cot- 
ton field cap and new combat boots, designed 
with a wide cuff at the top and made of leather 
with the flesh side turned out. In cold, wet 
weather he wore the shoepac. 

The final design of the combat uniform was 
accomplished only after prolonged develop- 
mental work by the Research and Development 

the direction of the Commanding General, ASF, the 
Assistant Director of Materiel, Brig. Gen. Albert J. 
Browning, appointed this investigating committee, 
whose report indicated that "as of 28 February no 
issues had been made in ETO and theater stocks were 
2,100,000" of wool field jackets. (3) The report con- 
tained no explanation of why these jackets had not 
been issued during the period covered by the report. 
Memo, Maj Gen C. F. Robinson, Dir of Control Div, 
ASF, for CG ASF, 21 Jun 45, sub: Investigation Supply 
of Clothing in ETO. 

Branch on the individual garments comprising 
the outfit. Only after the difficult problem of 
the short wool jacket had been satisfactorily 
solved, both as to design and its place in the 
combination of garments composing the com- 
bat uniform, did Headquarters, ETO, indorse 
the latter. 

The difference of opinion between the ETO 
and the OQMG regarding the combat uniform 
had serious effects on the supply of clothing in 
the ETO in the winter of 1944-45. The theater 
had planned to supply clothing and equipment 
in accordance with Table of Equipment 21, the 
new comprehensive table for clothing and in- 
dividual equipment. As changes were made in 
this table theater plans were changed according- 
ly. Of the new clothing items scheduled to be- 
come available for general issue from produc- 
tion during 1944, the theater included in its 
plans the wool jacket and the high-neck sweater 
but not the field jacket, M-1943. The War De- 
partment and the OQMG in accordance with 
the layering principle had recommended that 
the latter be worn over a combination of other 
garments to replace the overcoat in the ETO. 
However, the theater decision, approved by 
SHAEF, rejected the field jacket, M-1943, in 
favor of the overcoat for general issue. It was 
reluctant to accept the field jacket, M-1943, on 
the supposition that acceptance of it would pre- 
clude the adoption of the short wool jacket. 

The theater intended the wool field jacket to 
be the basic garment for all troops. Unfortunate- 
ly, although a schedule of delivery that would 
meet its needs was promised, it proved impos- 
sible to develop the required production in 
time. Production was limited by the lack of 
pocket-creasing machines and by the style of 
tailoring which required manufacture by the 
men's clothing industry. Every effort was made 
to accelerate production, but shipments lagged 
appreciably behind the promised schedules. 

45 T. F. White to Gen Doriot, OQMG, 4 Jul 45, 
sub: Rpt of Insp in ETO. 



Until the wool field jacket became available 
the theater was promised continued shipments 
of the earlier olive drab field jacket which was 
limited standard but an authorized substitute 
for the field jacket, M-1943. This old style 
jacket, however, was out of production, and 
supply could only be made from remaining 
zone of interior stocks which were exhausted 
before the wool field jacket became available. 
As a consequence, the ETO then submitted 
requisitions for the field jacket, M-1943. Be- 
cause of the theater's earlier decision not to 
requisition this jacket, a cut back had been 
made in the originally planned production 
which resulted in a short stock position in the 
zone of interior and an inability to meet require- 
ments when the ETO submitted its requisitions 
in the fall of 1944. As a result, some soldiers 
had the wool field jacket without the field 
jacket, M-1943; others had the later jacket but 
not the wool field jacket to wear with it. In 
such cases the men were not properly dressed, 
and it was necessary to issue the overcoat for 
combat wear in Europe during the winter of 
1944-45, although the overcoat had come to be 
regarded as a dress rather than a combat item. 
The differences in point of view and the results 
stemming from them account in part for the 
difficulties encountered by the ETO in supply- 
ing clothing in the winter of 1944-45. 44 

Summer Combat Clothing 

While winter combat clothing was used dur- 
ing the greater part of the year in the ETO, 
herringbone twill suits, though originally de- 
veloped as fatigue clothing, 45 became the ac- 
cepted year-round combat clothing in the 
tropical Pacific areas. The development of her- 
ringbone twill clothing involved a multiplicity 
of problems, ranging from the use of camou- 
flage patterns and the reversibility of garments 
through the addition to such clothing of pro- 
tective features against gas; design and con- 

struction details; manufacturing difficulties; 
and the relative place of the one- and two-piece 
suits in the clothing program. 

These problems culminated in a general re- 
view of the entire subject of the battle dress in 
the fall of 1942. As in the case of winter combat 
clothing, the initial tendency of the QMC had 
been toward the development of a wide variety 
of specialized types of one- and two-piece her- 
ringbone twill suits, such as working suits, pro- 
tective suits, desert suits, and jungle suits. By 
September 1942, however, it was felt that, ex- 
cept for special forces operating in climatic ex- 
tremes, it would be desirable to move in the 
direction of a single design. 46 

At the suggestion of the Philadelphia Depot 
the first step in the process of simplification was 
taken by eliminating special protective clothing 
to be used in the event of a gas attack. Instead, 
existing herringbone twill clothing was modi- 
fied by the addition of protective flaps, such as 
flies and gussets at the sleeve and front open- 
ings of the one- and two-piece suits, which 
would assist in gas protection. These protective 
flaps, imposed by the Chemical Warfare Service, 
were disliked intensely by men serving in the 
jungles, but they were used on all herringbone 
twill clothing throughout the war. 47 

44 ( 1 ) Rpt, Investigation: Sup of Clo to ETO, 16 
May 45, unsigned. Personal Papers of General Little- 
john. This report is the result of an investigation of 
winter clothing supply in the ETO which General 
Somervell instructed General Browning to make, after 
receipt of a letter from General Littlejohn on 2 March 

45 For an account of the development of fatigue 
clothing see Risch and Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of 
World War II, pp. 64-67. 

46 (1) QMCTC min of mtg No. 9, 15 Sep 42. (2) 
Insp Rpt, Lt N. J. Block to TQMG, 16 Sep 42, no 

47 (1) Ltr, Col Vere Painter, PQMD, to TQMG, 21 
May 42, sub: One-Piece Working Suits, and 1st ind, 
Maj Kennedy, OQMG, to CG PQMD, 17 June 42. 
(2) Characteristic of the comment from the field is 
the following extract: "As far as the cut is concerned 
these things are a waste of time and cloth; the but- 
toning of sleeves, around ankles, flap on front of 



In the fall of 1942 the desirability of using 
camouflage patterns for all summer combat gar- 
ments was another problem under considera- 
tion. The development of camouflage patterns 
and all problems relating to color were respon- 
sibilities of the Corps of Engineers, which 
advocated no less than three color combina- 
tions. Samples of clothing utilizing different 
camouflage patterns were shown to the 
QMCTC in the summer of 1942. It was sug- 
gested that clothing could be regular herring- 
bone twill one- and two-piece suits of standard 
appearance on the exterior but with camouflage 
patterns printed on the inside. The possibility 
of reversing the garments would make them 
useful under varying conditions. 

The use of camouflage in different colors and 
patterns would require several different suits, 
multiplying the problems of issue and handling. 
The Corps of Engineers insisted that its studies 
showed that camouflage clothing should be 
available to all military personnel abroad. The 
AGF, however, opposed this view although 
they agreed to the necessity for outfitting snip- 
ers in camouflage suits. These conflicting opin- 
ions were resolved by the end of 1942 when a 
directive from Headquarters, SOS, was received 
by the OQMG instructing that no further con- 
sideration be given to camouflaging regular 
issue garments. This directive followed action 
by the Corps of Engineers in October to ap- 
prove the use of an olive drab No. 7 green 
shade as the best available all-purpose camou- 
flage color for combat clothing. 48 

trousers, and the gusset front of blouse or coat. I pre- 
sume these things are imposed by the Medicos, if so, 
all I can say is that the fellow who dreamed it was a 
brother to those who say Infantry will use hammocks, 
and mosquito nets, and cotton gloves in combat. If 
he's fool enough to believe such stuff he will wake up 
with a bayonet in him. The first thing the soldier does 
is to cut all those things out of which I've written and 
curse those who put them in." From rpt by Capt 
Harold Haney, Hq, I62d Infantry, 7 Oct 44, in memo, 
Asst for Product Analysis to Clo Sec, R&D Br, 
OQMG, 3 Nov 44, sub: Jungle Uniform. 

However, a camouflage pattern, in a green 
combination on one side and tan on the other, 
was applied to the jungle suit but not with not- 
able success. Reports received from the South- 
west Pacific Theater criticized this camouflage 
jungle suit as too visible when men were in 
motion. A camouflage pattern was considered 
satisfactory for snipers, but it was felt that mov- 
ing troops did not require a special suit. Sub- 
sequently, Headquarters, AGF, reported that 
the special jungle uniform was considered un- 
suited for use in jungle areas, a fact verified by 
officers of the United States Marine Corps who 
had had battle experience in jungles. "The con- 
sensus of opinion is that the dark green No. 7 
shade is desired because it provides the best 
blending color for jungle areas." 49 The War 
Department General Staff directed that, after 
stocks of camouflage cloth on hand had been 
utilized, the herringbone twill camouflage 
jungle suits were to be reclassified as limited 
standard. This was accomplished by 30 March 
1944, and the recommendation of the QMCTC 
that no further shipments of these items be 
made to theaters of operations was approved.' 50 

A problem in relation to herringbone twill 
clothing demanding immediate attention in the 
fall of 1942 was the necessity of simplifying 
design in order to obtain sufficient production 
of the garments. Such action would enable 
manufacturers of work clothing to handle the 
large quantities of one- and two-piece herring- 
bone twill suits. It would bring into production 
of military items a class of industry then con- 
tributing little. At the same time it would re- 

48 QMCTC, min of mtgs No. 6, 8 Jul 42; No. 13, 

27 Oct 42; No. 18, 29 Dec 42. 

49 ( 1 ) 3d ind, Maj R. J. Delacroix, Hq AGF, to CG 
ASF, 22 Jan 44 on Ltr, Col Doriot to same, 4 Dec 43, 
sub: Jungle Uniform. (2) Rpt, 1st Lt Robert L. Wood- 
bury, QM Observer in SWP Theater, 1 Feb-15 May 43. 

50 ( 1 ) 4th ind, Dir of Reqmts Div, ASF, to TQMG, 

28 Jan 44, on Ltr, Col Doriot to CG ASF, 4 Dec 43, 
sub: Jungle Uniform. (2) 9th ind, same to TQMG, 30 
Mar 44, on same ltr. (3) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 3, 

29 Feb 44. 



lease other producers for the manufacture of 
jungle suits and winter combat outfits. 

Such simplification of design was initially ac- 
complished, for example, through the elimina- 
tion of a decorative pleat in the jacket pocket of 
the two-piece suit and the substitution of a 
simple hemmed style for the shirt-type cuff of 
the sleeve. In February 1943, in view of the 
heavy procurement of herringbone twill cloth- 
ing planned for the months ahead, a conference 
was held at Philadelphia between depot and 
OQMG representatives to discuss changes in 
manufacturing operations which would facili- 
tate procurement. The design of herringbone 
twill clothing was thereupon further simplified, 
as, for example, by the substitution of a plain, 
one-piece back for the bi-swing back heretofore 
used in making the one-piece suit. By simplify- 
ing manufacturing operations as well as offering 
optional specifications, the OQMG hoped to 
increase production of herringbone twill gar- 
ments. 51 

A problem of design that persisted through- 
out the war years and seemingly defied solution 
was the incorporation of a drop seat in the de- 
sign of the one-piece herringbone twill suit. 
Originally requested by the Desert Warfare 
Board in the summer of 1942 and subsequently 
discarded as efforts to produce special clothing 
for desert troops were abandoned, the request 
was renewed by the AGF in May 1943. 52 At first 
these requests were in conflict with the efforts 
being made to promote greater production of 
herringbone twill clothing by simplifying man- 
ufacturing operations. It was the general opinion 
that a one-piece suit with a drop seat would 
cause insurmountable difficulties from a pro- 
curement standpoint. When renewed efforts at 
redesigning the garment were made between 
1943 and 1945, it was found impossible to de- 
velop a satisfactory type of drop seat that would 
meet the requirements of protection against 
chemical warfare. Finally in the spring of 1945 
the AGF decided to eliminate this requirement 

from the military characteristics demanded in 
the design of a one-piece working suit. 53 

Jungle Combat Clothing 

While the general trend in the OQMG was 
toward the development of one uniform suit- 
able for summer combat wear by all troops, an 
exception was made for troops operating in the 
jungle. Although the OQMG had received no 
official request from any source, it had been at 
work for some time on the development of 
jungle equipment when suddenly, toward the 
end of July 1942, General MacArthur urgently 
requested 150,000 sets of special jungle equip- 
ment including a jungle uniform. 54 The AGF 
formally sanctioned the development of a jun- 
gle uniform having certain military character- 
istics on 28 July 1942. It was to be a one-piece 
herringbone twill suit with tight-fitting cuffs at 
wrist and internal adjustable suspenders to take 
the weight of clothing and equipment from the 
shoulders and collar of the garment, thus im- 
proving ventilation and preventing insect bites 
through clothing. The suit was to have two 
large cargo pockets on the sides at the hips and 
two medium-sized cargo pockets on the waist. 
The fabric was to be insect-proof and made up 
in camouflage pattern. The OQMG took swift 
action. Samples were prepared by the Philadel- 
phia Depot and a specification was drafted. 

51 (1) See Spec PQMD 42A, 30 Oct 42, sub: Cotton 
HBT Trousers, and 45B, 2 Nov 42, sub: HBT Jackets. 
(2) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to CO PQMD, 27 Feb 
43, sub: Simplification of Special One-Piece, HBT Suits 
and Jackets. (3) Ltr, Lt Col F. M. Steadman, PQMD, 
to TQMG, 1 Mar 43, same sub. All in 400.1141. 

52 (1) Ltr, Capt R.J. Delacroix, AGF, to CG ASF, 
2 May 43, sub: Redesign of One-Piece Work Suit, and 
1st ind, Hq ASF, to TQMG, 4 May 43. (2) See Risch 
and Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of World War II, pp. 70ff. 

5,3 Ltr, Lt Col R. A. Meredith, AGF, to CG ASF, 23 
Mar 45, sub: One-Piece Working Suits with Drop Seat, 
and 1st ind, Col P. R. Faymonville, Dir of R&D Div, 
ASF, to TQMG, 9 Apr 45. 

54 For a full discussion of the early development of 
jungle equipment see Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment 
for Special Forces, pp. 198ff. 



Within a month the jungle suit had been stand- 

Even as the one-piece jungle suit was being 
developed and procured, a second school of 
thought stressed the advantages of a two-piece 
jungle suit. Although the one-piece suit had 
been useful in Panama where it was first tested, 
in the jungles of New Guinea it proved a fail- 
ure. Here the "frog-skin" suit was reported as 
"too heavy, too hot, and too uncomfortable." 5<s 
When wet, herringbone twill increased in 
weight substantially, adding to the load carried 
by an individual soldier under humid, tropical 
conditions. The most serious criticism was the 
lack of a drop seat in the suit. The fact that men 
had practically to disrobe to perform normal 
functions, thereby exposing themselves to the 
bites of any and all insects, defeated the purpose 
for which the uniform had been designed, 
namely, to give the maximum protection 
against the forays of insects carrying such dis- 
eases as malaria, dengue fever, and scrub typhus. 
On the basis of the arguments advanced, the 
advocates of the two-piece uniform were suc- 
cessful in substituting that outfit for the one- 
piece jungle suit in the spring of 1943. v 

The two-piece jungle suits proved more pop- 
ular than the one-piece suits, but the OQMG 
felt that there was room for improvement. Crit- 
icism of the issue of herringbone twill garments 
for jungle use continued. Inasmuch as little 
clothing or textile design of a radical nature 
had been evolved to provide the necessary pro- 
tection against insects, terrain, and other en- 
vironmental hazards encountered in jungle war- 
fare, the Military Planning Division initiated a 
comprehensive project in requirements for jun- 
gle clothing in August 1943. This included field 
study at the Everglades in Florida, tests for 
physiological reactions in hot, humid atmos- 
phere conducted at Indiana University and wear 
tests at Camp Lee. 

The Textile Section sought to perfect a jun- 
gle cloth which would be thin, dense, and of 

the lowest possible water-holding capacity. 
Poplin and Byrd cloth were found to be cooler, 
to weigh less when dry, to absorb less weight of 
water, and therefore to dry more quickly than 
any of the other fabrics tested. As tightly woven 
fabrics, they also gave better protection against 
mosquito bites. The Committee on Jungle 
Clothing recommended the adoption of pop- 
lin. 58 

At the same time the Clothing Section of the 
Research and Development Branch worked to 
perfect the most desirable design for a jungle 
uniform. Many modified styles of the basic 
two-piece suit were developed in experimental 
models. Jungle combat uniforms made in the 
new design and from the new fabrics were 
tested during the period from 1 July to 1 No- 
vember 1944 at Bougainville, and by the4lst 
Infantry Division during September and Octo- 
ber 1944 on Biak Island. In addition, they were 
tested in the Central Pacific Area and the 
China-Burma-India Theater. During the sum- 
mer of 1944 the Quartermaster Board also un- 
dertook a comprehensive field test of tropical 
clothing, equipment, and rations at Camp 
Indian Bay, Fla. 59 

A lightweight tropical combat uniform had 
been desired by all the theaters in which it was 
tried experimentally. The War Department 
General Staff had also expressed a desire for this 

55 [4th ind], Col W. A. Wood, Jr., Dir of Reqmts 
Div, SOS, to TQMG, 31 Aug 42. (An indorsement 
cited in brackets refers to a basic document which can- 
not be located. ) 

56 Rpt, Lt Woodbury, QM Observer, SWP Theater, 
1 Feb- 15 May 43. 

57 ( 1 ) Ltr, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 30 Apr 
43, sub: Two- Piece Jungle Suit. (2) QMCTC, min of 
mtg No. 9, 4 May 43. (3) [2d ind], Hq ASF, to 
TQMG, 8jun 43. 

58 ( 1 ) Action min of 1st mtg on Jungle Clo, 5 Aug 
43. (2) R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 Aug 43, p. 21. (3) 
Com on Jungle Clo, min of mtg, 13 Oct 43. 

,9 For comment on Camp Indian Bay tests see (1) 
Dir of QM Bd to TQMG, Rpt on QM Bd, Camp Lee, 
Va., 1 Feb 42 to 30 Jun 44, pp. 80ff; (2) Ibid., 1 Jul 
44-30 Jun 45, pp. 43ff. 



uniform. Action to initiate its manufacture, 
however, was delayed because of the shortage of 
fabrics at that time. Not until June 1945 did the 
OQMG near its production goals. Only then 
was it possible to divert 5-ounce poplin to the 
manufacture of jungle uniforms. So great had 
been the demand for lightweight, wind-resistant 
fabrics that a choice had had to be made be- 
tween the manufacture of winter combat uni- 
forms to protect men from the cold and rain 
and lightweight jungle uniforms to ease the 
burden of the heat. On 11 July 1945 standard- 
ization of the new jungle uniform was approved 
by Headquarters, ASF, 6o but the war ended be- 
fore the new uniform could be issued to troops 
in the field. 

Combat Headgear 

One of the important contributions to the 
comfort and safety of the soldier was the devel- 
opment of the helmet assembly. 61 In World 
War I the American doughboy had worn the 
M-1917 helmet which was neither comfortable 
nor an adequate protection from shrapnel flung 
upward from the ground. The steel helmet and 
liner of World War II was a radical departure 
from the "tin hat" of the first war. Consisting 
of an outer, pot-shaped, steel body and a snugly 
inserted plastic shell which contained a suspen- 
sion to fit the whole assembly comfortably to 
the wearer's head, the helmet and liner were al- 
ways worn in combat, except in the jungle 
where the liner alone was sometimes used for 
combat fighting. 

In the forward areas of all theaters the liner 
was commonly worn in place of the garrison 
cap. It was suitable for wear both in the tropics 
and, with the addition of a specially designed 
knit cap, in the Arctic. Since the steel helmet 
itself was without head harness, it could be used 
as a wash basin or bucket and in many other 
ways. Made in one size to fit the conformity of 
the steel helmet, the liner carried an adjustable 

headband inside the suspension which, with a 
neckband (issued in three sizes), made possible 
a close fit to the head. Together, helmet and 
liner weighed approximately 3 pounds, and the 
liner alone weighed about 10 ounces. 

While the Ordnance Department was respon- 
sible for the development of the combat helmet, 
the liner for it was developed as a joint product 
of private industry, the Ordnance Department, 
and the QMC. The helmet and liner idea had 
been originally suggested as early as 1932. The 
first tangible version, however, was derived in 
large part from a plastic football helmet and 
suspension invented and patented by John T. 
Riddell, a Chicago manufacturer of football 
supplies. The Infantry Board in early 1941 was 
the first to consider the design of the Riddell 
football helmet likely for adaptation in devel- 
oping a substitute for the cumbersome and un- 
safe steel helmet of World War I. The Ord- 
nance Department then took a hand in the 
development of sample liners, utilizing the 
football helmet suspension, but before the year 
was over the QMC had contributed a great deal 
of experimentation, and the liner, originally 
developed as a fiber hat worn under a steel 
shell, had been made a Quartermaster item. 

Almost from the first, however, the fiber liner 
was considered unsatisfactory. From the sum- 
mer of 1941 the Standardization Branch of the 
OQMG conducted experiments on liners, using 
various plastics, and enlisting the co-operation 
of several industrial firms. In 1942 a plastic 
shell was substituted for the original fiber liner, 
and proved to be a stronger, longer-wearing 

60 (1) [1st ind], Col M. M. Irvine, Actg Dir of 
R&D Div, ASF, to TQMG, 11 Jul 45, no sub. (2) For 
a fuller discussion of the development of the jungle 
uniform see Risch and Pitkin, Clothing the Soldier of 
World War II, pp. 72-77. 

61 This account is based on the more detailed study 
prepared by the depot historian at the Chicago Quar- 
termaster Depot: Marion Massen, The History of the 
Helmet Liner (CQMD Historical Studies 5, 1944). 



The first plastic liners were unsatisfactory in 
many ways, and the Research and Development 
Branch, successor to the Standardization Branch, 
sought to improve them. The helmet liner was 
anything but static in design after the first ex- 
perimental stages had passed. Industry and the 
Research and Development Branch in co-opera- 
tion with the Chicago Quartermaster Depot, 
the procuring agency for the item, worked long 
and hard to examine and perfect any suggested 
changes that would make the liner a more com- 
fortable headpiece. The adjustable headband, 
which eliminated burdensome tariff sizes, was 
worked out; hardware was redesigned so as to 
be as comfortable as possible and eliminate 
many pressure points on the wearer's head; a 
chin strap which could be removed for the de- 
lousing operation was developed; and a textured 
paint coating, less inclined to chip and less 
reflective, was also developed. 

The proposed use of the helmet assembly had 
led the OQMG in 1941 to undertake a compre- 
hensive survey of all headgear for purposes of 
simplification. When the helmet assembly was 
adopted, it was necessary to develop a woolen 
liner to provide warmth in winter. The Chief 
of Infantry advocated the use of a skullcap, but 
the QMC, because of manufacturing difficulties 
limiting production, favored a knitted cap, 
which was adopted as a standard item of issue 
on 26 February 1942. 62 

The Chief of Infantry remained unfavorably 
disposed toward the use of the knitted cap, and 
in October 1942 a project was initiated to de- 
velop an all-purpose field cap. Using a ski cap 
as the point of departure, the OQMG con- 
tinued developmental work until there was de- 
vised early in 1943 a windproof, water-repellent 
poplin cap with a stiffened sun visor, which 
gave protection to the eyes without protruding 
beyond the helmet liner. This field cap, M-1943, 
was designed to be worn with the field jacket, 
M-1943. It could also be worn under the hood 
of that jacket and with the steel helmet and 

liner. At the same time a pile cap of improved 
military characteristics was designed for wear in 
extreme cold. The Research and Development 
Branch decided that these two items of head- 
gear met all the requirements for temperate, 
cold, and arctic climates, and they were sub- 
sequently classified as standard, thereby elimi- 
nating a multiplicity of field caps previously 
used. 63 

Combat Footgear 

Adequate footwear is essential in war, for it 
may determine in no small measure the out- 
come of a battle. The fact that World War II 
was fought in many climates and terrains com- 
plicated the QMC's problem of supplying ade- 
quate footwear. That problem was also made 
more difficult as a result of the fortunes of war 
which cut off many sources of raw materials. 

The trend of development in both world wars 
was similar. The Army was caught unprepared 
for the emergency in both instances. In World 
War I the first issue of footwear was the peace- 
time shoe recommended for adoption by the 
Munson Board in 1912. A sturdier marching 
shoe appeared by May 1917, but it was not 
until the spring of 1918 that a heavier shoe with 
more waterproof construction was developed to 
suit the demands of trench warfare. The so- 
called "Pershing" boot, made of leather with 
flesh side out and a hobnailed sole, was admir- 
ably designed to meet the demands of combat 
service for that period. 64 

As in the case of the World War I combat 
uniform, so the combat shoe underwent modifi- 
cation after the war to emerge as a more suit- 

62 ( 1 ) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 7, 16 Jun 41. (2) 
Memo, Gen Corbin, OQMG, to ACofS G-4, 1 1 Feb 
42, sub: Headgear for Wear Under Helmet Liner. (3) 
2d ind, TAG to TQMG, 26 Feb 42, on same. Last two 
in 400.112. 

65 QMCTC, min of mtg No. 15, 13 Jul 43. 

64 Helen R. Brooks, Development of the Modern 
Service Shoe (BQMD Historical Monograph 1, July 
1945), pp. 10-11. 



able garrison shoe. It was developed for a small 
peacetime army with a regard for appearance 
and comfort. Made with grain side out, polished 
upper leather, full leather outsoles and whole 
leather heels, this Type I service shoe was ob- 
viously a product of an economy of surplus. 
Some official studies of combat-type footgear 
were conducted during the twenty years follow- 
ing World War I, but the specification for 
service shoes remained substantially unchanged 
at the beginning of the period of emergency in 
1939. Until September 1941 all service shoes 
procured were Type I. 

Instead of profiting by the lessons of World 
War I, the QMC entered World War II pursu- 
ing the same course of action with regard to 
shoes that it had taken in 1917. Starting with a 
peacetime shoe, it developed one of greater dur- 
ability until finally a shoe of the type of the 
Pershing boot was again specified. Apparently 
no thought was given to making use of this 
specification to begin with, although it had 
proved very satisfactory during the closing 
months of World War I. 

As the emergency period began, although the 
need for a sturdy combat shoe was obvious, 
Quartermaster personnel showed a lack of 
imagination in anticipating requirements. 
Thinking was still in terms of a peacetime 
army. The major question of discussion during 
1939 was the possible replacement of the high- 
top garrison shoe with a low quarter shoe in the 
interest of appearance, comfort, economy, and 
morale. 6,5 With the federalization of the Na- 
tional Guard and the establishment of the Se- 
lective Service System in the fall of 1940, the 
military program began to assume wartime pro- 
portions. The year before our entry into the war 
was marked by considerable developmental 

During the small-scale maneuvers character- 
istic of the early training period, the light 
service shoe, Type I, 'issued to the soldiers 
worked out satisfactorily, but complaints were 

numerous that the outsole wore through in the 
short period of two to three weeks. Government 
technicians, in an effort to develop more dura- 
ble soles, turned their attention to the use of 
composition soles. Experiments resulted in a re- 
vised service shoe, Type II, which utilized a 
rubber tap and heel. 66 But just as the Army suc- 
ceeded in producing a sole that would wear, it 
was forced, because of the serious rubber short- 
age, to keep reducing the new rubber content of 
these taps until the point was reached when no 
new rubber was used and taps were made 
entirely of reclaimed rubber. 

As materials shortages increased, the motivat- 
ing factor behind all initial wartime develop- 
mental activities in the field of footgear became 
conservation of resources. During 1942 there 
was a considerable amount of experimental 
work toward such conservation, although the 
Boston Depot insisted that standards of current 
specifications ought to be maintained. Lighter 
insoles, strip gemming, cork filler material, re- 
claimed rubber taps, wood-core heels, and zinc- 
coated steel reinforcing nails were introduced 
into the manufacture of service shoes to con- 
serve leather, duck, rubber, and brass. The serv- 
ice shoe was actually being weakened when the 
sturdiest possible footgear was needed. 

About mid- 1942 the Research and Develop- 
ment Branch, OQMG, became interested in a 
boot which would supplant the shoe and leg- 
ging combination in use since the beginning of 
the war but thoroughly disliked by the troops. 
Laces broke, leggings wore out quickly and were 
difficult to put on and take off. Observers' re- 
ports subsequently indicated that rather than go 

65 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col C. A. Hunt, 5th Infantry, to CG 1st 
CA, 2 Feb 39, sub: Garrison Shoes. (2) Ltr, Subcom, 
QMCTC, to QMCTC, 20 Sep 39, sub: Low Quarter 
Shoes. Both in 421.5. 

66 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Littlejohn, OQMG, to CO BQMD, 
16 May 41, sub: Sv Shoes. (2) Ltr, Gen Corbin, 
OQMG, to TAG, 12 Apr 41, sub: Composition Soles 
for Sv Shoes, and 1st ind, TAG to TQMG, 16 Apr 41. 
Both in 421.5. (3) QMC Spec 9-6F, 19 Nov 41, sub: 
Sv Shoes, Type I and II. 



through the tedious procedure of removing their 
shoes, soldiers occasionally went for long 
periods without taking them off, thus opening 
the way to foot ailments. 67 

Since the combat boot eventually produced 
was a product of complicated developments, it 
is difficult to trace any particular shoe as its 
predecessor. Initially the Desert Training Center 
had stimulated interest in a combat boot by its 
request for a special boot suitable for desert 
troops. The scope of the project was widened to 
develop a combat boot suitable for all troops. A 
thorough examination of all the service shoes 
in use at the time revealed that the type of con- 
struction sought was most closely approximated 
in the Canadian combat boot, a heavy-duty shoe 
with a cuff and strap at the top. The OQMG re- 
quested the Boston Depot to produce samples 
of boots of this type. 

Development of the combat boot was stimu- 
lated by the findings of the Chief of Staff, Gen- 
eral Marshall, after his return early in 1943 from 
an inspection tour of the combat zone in North 
Africa. He reported in conference on 1 February 
1943 that the service shoes were unfit for field 
use and that he would request the development 
of a "suitable shoe along the lines of the field 
shoe issued in France during the last war." The 
shoe in use in the combat zone was "too light, 
and too much on the order of the garrison shoe 
for field service." 68 

Samples of improved shoes had been devel- 
oped earlier by the OQMG, and these were 
submitted to the Chief of Staff on 5 February. 
A decision was reached to change production as 
soon as possible from the Type II service shoe 
to a new Type III shoe. The latter was to be 
made with flesh-out upper leather and a full 
rubber sole and heel, which, with the scarcity 
of rubber, was later changed to reclaimed and 
then to synthetic rubber. The use of flesh-out 
Army retan had been decided upon because it 
was more durable, it absorbed dubbing more 
readily, thereby increasing the qualities of flexi- 

bility and waterproofing, and it was more com- 
fortable in the breaking-in stage than grain-out 

At the same time it was also decided to pro- 
duce a new combat boot in limited quantities 
for test purposes. The boot was the same as the 
shoe, plus a cuff and buckle top which gave it 
a 10-inch height as compared to the 6 inches 
for the Type III shoe. The boot was intended to 
eliminate the shoe and legging combination 
worn by infantrymen and the special boot worn 
by parachute troops. 

Deliveries of the Type III shoe began April 
1943. By July, experimentation on the combat 
boot as a replacement for Type III shoes was 
fairly well advanced. Field test reports were 
favorable and on 16 November 1943 the 
QMCTC approved a committee report calling 
for standardization of the combat boot. A few 
days later this recommendation was concurred 
in by the ASF. 69 By January 1944 the shoe in- 
dustry began production of the combat boot for 
regular issue. 

Although the combat boot was well received 
in most theaters, there was some complaint 
about it in the ETO in the winter of 1944-45. 
In the fall of 1944 combat troops in that theater 
were confronted with mud, slush, and cold- 
elements against which the new service shoes 
offered only relative protection— and trench foot 

Trench foot had first showed itself as a serious 
problem in the summer of 1943 during the at- 
tack on Attu, in the Aleutians. Of the total 
2,900 casualties during the Attu operation, 
1,200 were due to exposure, resulting chiefly in 

67 Rpt, Capt Pounder, QM Observer, Rpt of QM 
Opns in NATO, 5 Mar-2 Jun 43. 

68 Memo, Gen Corbin, OQMG, for CG SOS, 18 Feb 
43, sub: Unsuitability of Present Issue. Shoe in T/O, 

69 ( 1 ) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 2 5, 16 Nov 43. 
(2) 3d ind, Hq ASF, to OQMG, 22 Nov 43, on ltr, 
QMCTC to TQMG, 19 Nov 43, sub: Combat Sv Boot, 
Composition Sole, 400.1141. 

(above) and field combat boot (below). 



trench foot. About 40 percent of the total cas- 
ualties, therefore, were not directly attributable 
to enemy action. In November of the same year 
trench foot reappeared during the first winter 
campaign in Italy, accounting for 20 percent of 
the casualties at its peak incidence. The Quar- 
termaster of the Fifth Army took steps to pre- 
vent a recurrence of such an outbreak the 
following winter by issuing shoepacs and wool 
ski socks to combat troops and by instituting 
an educational campaign in foot care. At the 
same time the OQMG, through its observers in 
the field, closely followed the action taken and 
made efforts to explain the fit and use of shoe- 
pacs and other new items of winter clothing. As 
a result the incidence of trench foot declined 
sharply in Italy, only to rise to epidemic pro- 
portions in the ETO during the winter of 
1944-45. 70 

The OQMG had long recognized the need 
of providing specialized footgear for operations 
in cold, wet climates. The shoepac, which was 
a well-known commercial item with a moccasin- 
type rubber foot and a leather top, was consid- 
ered best for such conditions. When the Attu 
task force was getting ready to depart, in May 
1943, Quartermaster cold-climate specialists had 
recommended shoepacs to the commanding 
general. Instead of the shoepac he had chosen 
a 12-inch leather Blucher boot, which was per- 
haps a more comfortable item but not so well 
insulated nor so efficient as the rubber-footed 
shoepac would have been in the slush of Attu. 
The director of the Military Planning Division 
later attributed the foot casualties suffered on 
this expedition largely to the failure to adopt 
the recommendation of his representatives. 71 

Similarly, in reviewing the proposed ETO 
winter combat outfit, which included the use of 
combat boots or service shoes and overshoes, 
Captain Pounder recommended the use of shoe- 
pacs. The chief of the Supply Division in the 
Office of the Chief Quartermaster, ETO, agreed 
that shoepacs were more waterproof than shoes 

or boots, but he felt that the soft rubber sole 
wore out quickly and did not provide proper 
support or protection for the soldier's feet. 72 
Hence he rejected the recommendation. Experi- 
ence with the wet, muddy conditions in France 
soon forecast the need for shoepacs and the 
ETO submitted its first requisition for 446,000 
on 15 August 1944. 7} 

It was understood perfectly in the OQMG 
that the Type III service shoe and combat boot 
were not, by themselves, sufficient for foot pro- 
tection in conditions like those encountered in 
Europe during the last winter of the war. Since 
leather is a permeable material, no leather boot 
is waterproof, no matter how carefully designed. 
The major leaking occurred at the seams and 
could not be eliminated by the use of dubbing, 
which furthermore inhibited rapid drying. 
Quartermaster specialists recommended either 
the addition of rubber overshoes, or the substi- 
tution of shoepacs in wet-cold conditions. With 
waterproof footgear, frequent changes of socks, 
and proper training and discipline, trench foot 
can be kept to a minimum, though its elimina- 
tion in a winter campaign is probably impos- 
sible. Perhaps the most important reason for 
the prevalence of trench foot in the ETO dur- 
ing the winter of 1944-45 was the prolonged 

70 (1) 1st Lt Robert D. Orr, QM Observer, Rpt on 
Attu Opns, 11 May-16 Jun 43. (2) SGO to ASF, 
Monthly Rpt, 30 Jun 44, Sec. 7, sub: Health, p. 9. 
During January and February 1944 there were 2,800 
hospital admissions for trench foot in the Fifth Army 
in comparison to 12,900 admissions for battle wounds. 
(3) Ltr, Maj Robert H. Bates, QM Observer with 
Fifth Army, to Gen Doriot, 24 May 45, sub: Observers' 
Bulletins, 319.25. (4) Memo, Maj Gen Norman T. 
^Cirk, SG, for CofS, 9 Dec 44, sub: Trench Foot in 

71 Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to CG, ASF, 24 Jul 44, 
sub: Footwear for Cool and Cold Wet Climates. 

72 ( 1) Memo, Col A. M. Brumbaugh, for Chief QM 
ETO, 2 Jul 44, sub: Comments on Capt Pounder's 
Rpt, 30 Jun 44. (2) See also Ltr, Capt Pounder to Col 
Doriot, OQMG, 1 3 Mar 44, no sub. 

75 Rad, Hq Com Zone to AG WAR for Somervell, 
15 Aug 44, sub: Winter Clo for Special Conditions. 

SHOEPACS AND WOOL SKI SOCKS are tried on by afoot soldier of the 4th Infantry Division 
in the ETO, 25 January 1945. 



period of front-line service required of combat 
divisions. Peak efficiency, including foot care, 
cannot be maintained under such conditions. 
Lateness of supply, aggravated by a limited 
amount of shipping and the low priority 
allotted clothing and footwear items, was also a 
factor. By midwinter a sufficient distribution of 
overshoes was made to give a fairly adequate 
supply to combat troops, though a full distribu- 
tion of large sizes was not effected until the 
middle of March. Shoepacs were issued to the 
Seventh Army early enough to be used effec- 
tively during the winter, but the First, Ninth, 
and Third Armies did not receive an initial issue 
of shoepacs until the latter part of January. 

The arctic overshoe used over the combat 
boot or the Type III shoe was offered as a com- 
bination that would keep the feet dry. But the 
weight of such a combination proved a hin- 
drance to fast movement and often caused the 
soldier to discard the overshoes in combat. 
Moreover, the overshoes first issued in quantity 
had been made during the worst of the rubber 
shortage and were provided with cloth tops 
which leaked badly and tore easily. This type 
was discontinued in favor of the all-rubber over- 
shoe as soon as sufficient rubber was made 

Lightness and increased insulation made the 
shoepac a more satisfactory item for winter wear 
than the boot and overshoe combination. While 
the shoepac had formed a part of the Alaska 
clothing list before the war, little attention had 
been paid to it as a basic military item until 
1941. At that time cold-climate men in the 
OQMG undertook its improvement and a num- 
ber of changes were made in the specification. 
One of its weaknesses was a tendency to pull 
apart at the point where the rubber foot was 
stitched to the leather upper. Improved shoepacs 
were procured only when the U. S. Rubber Co. 
made available to other firms its patented con- 
struction method which provided a more effec- 
tive type of junction. 74 

During the next two years the shoepac under- 
went many modifications designed to improve 
its military characteristics and to meet the criti- 
cisms of the men who wore it. Early procure- 
ments had been made with a variety of com- 
mercial lasts. In 1943, the Boston Depot de- 
signed a uniform last which, in turn, necessitated 
other changes in the pattern. An improved heel, 
which gave better support to the instep, was 
also provided. When final details were worked 
out, production was converted to the new 
model in August 1944. 75 The shoepac was not 
standardized, however, until 1945. 

Although a greatly improved shoepac had 
been developed, it could not be produced in 
large enough quantities to meet the increased 
requisitions made by the ETO in December 
1944. The M-1944 shoepac, incorporating an 
arch support and raised heel, and made in three 
widths, was the most adequate item of wet- and 
cold- weather footgear available, but most of the 
shoepacs issued even in the last winter of the 
war did not contain these improvements. Com- 
plaints which were justified only against the 
earlier models were registered about shoepacs 
in general. Shoepacs, in any case, required time 
for the soldier to become accustomed to them. 76 
In the winter of 1944-45 there was not always 

If fighting in cold, wet areas posed problems 
in the development of adequate footgear to the 
technicians of the Research and Development 

74 Ltr, Brig Gen James R. Alfonte, OQMG, to CO 
BQMD, 1 Jul 42, sub: Shoepac, 400.1141. 

75 (1) Lt Col D. B. Dill, Special Forces Sec, to Col 
Doriot, Mil Ping Div, OQMG, 12 Jul 43, sub: Shoe- 
pacs. (2) QMC Spec BQD 570, 19 Jul 44, sub: Shoe- 
pac, 12-inch, M-1944. (3) Ltr, Col C. P. Bellican, 
OQMG, to CG ASF, 13 Nov 45, sub: Shoepac, 12- 
inch, M-1944 and 1st ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 30 
Nov 45. All in 421.3. 

76 Rpt, Maj Paul A. Siple, QMC Tech Observer, 
G-4, 12 Apr 45, sub: Rpt on Observations and Con- 
clusions Concerning the Adequacy of Winter Clothing 
in ETO Winter 1944-45, incl in Ltr, Maj Gen T B. 
Larkin, DCofS, ETO, to CofS, USA, 19 May 45. Per- 
sonal papers of Gen Littlejohn. 



Branch, OQMG, and of the Boston Depot, 
combat in jungle areas presented other difficul- 
ties. Shortly after Pearl Harbor four jungle 
platoons were activated and equipped for the 
purpose of patrolling jungle areas for consider- 
able distances on each side of the Canal Zone. 
In the early days of experimental development 
of jungle gear in Panama under the direction of 
Capt. Cresson H. Kearny, it had been revealed 
that leather service shoes deteriorated very rap- 
idly under conditions of heat, moisture, and 
parasitic growth existing in the jungle. The 
jungle forces had been experimenting with a 
boot, developed by the U. S. Rubber Co., which 
gave four to five times the wear obtained from 
leather service shoes. 

The OQMG took up the development of the 
jungle boot and under pressure of a request 
from General MacArthur in July 1942 quickly 
completed the project. The jungle boot was 
standardized on 31 August 1942. The Boston 
Depot prepared a specification, and arrange- 
ments were immediately made for the procure- 
ment of 200,000 pairs. This procurement at once 
ran into difficulties. Production of the jungle 
boot involved the rehabilitation of the canvas 
footwear industry, which had been virtually 
shut down for several months by a WPB order 
forbidding the use of either crude or reclaimed 
rubber for canvas footwear. The trained oper- 
ators of this industry had scattered to other 
fields. These had to be relocated or new oper- 
ators trained. 77 

Production difficulties and other delays pre- 
vented extensive use of the jungle boot as well 
as other new items of jungle equipment in the 
Guadalcanal fighting and in the New Guinea 
campaign which began outside Port Moresby in 
October and closed at Buna in February 1943. 
These operations were carried on largely with 
the older standard equipment supplemented by 
items improvised locally. The new jungle equip- 
ment was arriving toward the close of this phase 
of the fighting and was being issued to troops. 

The items, including the boot, attracted the 
favorable attention of quartermasters on the 
ground, and it was expected that they would 
have an effect on later operations. 

The jungle boot was a sneaker-type shoe 
made with a corrugated rubber sole, to give bet- 
ter footing on slippery and grassy slopes, and a 
permeable duck top, some eleven and a half 
inches in height, which allowed air to reach the 
feet and legs, permitting ventilation and cool- 
ing and preventing tropical rashes. Thus the 
legging could be discarded. The boot had a re- 
movable fabric insole" 8 to keep the foot from 
contact with the rubber sole and insulate it 
against ground heat. It had the advantage of 
being porous, light, and easily cleaned and 

Its disadvantages made the jungle boot un- 
successful in the field. It afforded too little sup- 
port, resulting in many cases of "aching arches" 
and gave too little protection to the foot. Men 
complained that the canvas top chafed the low- 
er leg and in the operations on Leyte "it was 
not an uncommon sight to see the tops folded 
down about half way to the sole and hanging 
loose." Sometimes the tops were cut off above 
the ankles. 79 Since the jungle boot was made 
over the manufacturers' own lasts and not over 

77 Insp rpt, A. T. Daignault to TQMG, 3 Aug 42, 
no sub. 

78 Since fabric insoles proved unsatisfactory, the 
OQMG experimented with other materials. A new 
plastic substance called "Saran" was finally used by Lt. 
Robert L. Woodbury and Earl P. Hanson to produce 
an insole that solved the problem. Saran insoles were a 
significant development, and after World War II they 
were put to civilian uses. It appears likely that they 
will be used in arctic footwear also. (1) E. P. Hanson 
to Col B. Robinson, OQMG, 14 Oct 42, sub: Patents 
on Shoe Ventilation. (2) Special Forces Sec to Patent 
Sec, Legal Div, OQMG, 7 Nov 42, sub: Insoles. 

79 ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col Glenn J. Jacoby to CG USAFPOA, 
14 Dec 44, sub: QM Observer's Rpt 319.2 5 to PAC. 
(2) See also Brig Gen George E. Hartman, Hq 
USAFCPA, to Col Doriot, 4 Dec 44, no sub. General 
Hartman encloses the report of an observer who was 
attached to the XXIV Corps during the Leyte oper- 



the Army Munson last, there was also consider- 
able complaint about the fit. 

A number of specification changes were made 
without producing a thoroughly adequate or 
satisfactory jungle boot, and developmental 
work was resumed. The OQMG instructed the 
Boston Depot to produce models incorporating 
various ideas with reference to materials and 
patterns. The object was still to develop a light- 
weight boot which would dry out quickly, even 
when soaked through by heavy tropical rains, 
and which would afford adequate traction in the 
sole. At the same time it was to be made of ma- 
terials which had been subjected to some form 
of special treatment for preventing mildew. 

In the course of experimentation and testing 
of models, spun nylon was selected as the most 
satisfactory fabric for use in the new boot. The 
most difficult problem involved development of 
a mold for the Bramani rubber sole with lugs 
placed in such a position as to permit stitching 
of the sole to the welt. 80 By February 1945 a 
satisfactory boot had been designed and was 
ready for large-scale procurement. The new 
tropical combat boot specification called for a 
10V^-inch boot of welt construction, made in a 
plain-toe blucher pattern without a toe cap. 
The top was made of spun nylon duck fastened 
by two straps and buckles. The boot had a 
leather mid sole, a full-length, cleated, rubber 
outer sole, and a molded, cleated rubber heel. A 
ventilating-type insole was to be worn with the 

When, after testing, favorable reports on the 
efficiency of the tropical combat boot had been 
received from the AGF, the QMCTC initiated 
standardization in November 1944. It was 
planned to substitute the tropical combat boot 
for the jungle boot, although the latter was to 
be issued until the supply was exhausted. Be- 
cause of the uncertainty of requirements, since 
the war in the Pacific was moving northward 
out of the jungles, production of the tropical 
combat boot was not started until the summer 

of 1945. The end of the war brought the termi- 
nation of all contracts. 

Clothing for Women in the Army 

The Corps' concern with the problems in- 
volved in developing and issuing clothing to 
women in the armed service dates from the 
spring of 1942, when a bill to establish a 
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) 81 
was under consideration by Congress. Some uni- 
forms had been furnished to members of the 
Army Nurse Corps (ANC) in the period be- 
tween World War I and World War II, but 
Quartermaster personnel thus far had been con- 
fronted with no special problems in providing 
clothing for women in the Army. They had 
little or no past experience upon which to draw. 
No body of information existed in reference to 
design, pattern, sizing, specifications, or pro- 
curement of women's clothing such as that 
which had been built up over the years for 
men's clothing by the OQMG and the Philadel- 
phia Depot. The OQMG was now embarking 
on a new venture, made more difficult by the 
haste with which the wardrobe for the WAAC 
had to be designed and procured. 82 

Between 1942 and 1945 the development of 
WAAC clothing at the OQMG was the respon- 
sibility of only two men. Colonel Grice, chief 
of the Standardization Branch, piloted the pro- 
gram through the preliminary stages of plan- 
ning during the period February to August 
1942, when the basic details of the uniform 
were determined. In August Maj. Stephen J. 
Kennedy, chief of the Textile Section in the Re- 

80 Ltr, Gregory J. Tobin, BQMD, to James P. Giblin, 
OQMG, 20 Sep 44, no sub. 

81 When the organization was incorporated as part 
of the Army under legislation enacted on 1 July 1943, 
it became known as the Women's Army Corps 

82 For a detailed account of this activity see Etna 
Risch, A Wardrobe for the Women of the Army (QMC 
Historical Studies 12, October 1945). 



search and Development Branch, became the 
officer in charge of the WAAC clothing pro- 
gram. To him fell the task of making the modi- 
fications in WAAC clothing necessitated by 
practical experience, as well as of developing 
new items subsequently needed by the WAC. 
Closely associated with the developmental work 
at the Philadelphia Depot throughout this peri- 
od were two officers, Maj. Frank M. Steadman 
and Capt. William L.Johnson. None of these 
officers were specialists in the field of women's 
clothing nor were their staffs experienced. Late 
in 1942 this situation was modified by the ad- 
dition of some officers who knew the field of 
women's clothing, and both the OQMG and 
the depot added women consultants to their 
staffs, primarily to present the woman's point 
of view. It is difficult, however, to evaluate the 
influence of these women consultants. Their 
more active participation in the program came 
only after the initial planning had been com- 

Both the OQMG and the Philadelphia De- 
pot sought assistance from outside sources to 
acquire as rapidly as possible the necessary 
"know-how." They consulted manufacturers, 
stylists, designers, technical experts, and depart- 
ment store buyers of women's garments, both 
in conference and by means of correspondence. 
While such consultation was most helpful, the 
failure to utilize personnel trained in the wom- 
en's clothing field from the beginning of the 
program resulted in the modifications which 
followed close upon the first issue of WAAC 
clothing at Fort Des Moines in July 1942. 

It was unfortunate, too, that not until early 
in 1945 was a Women's Clothing Section estab- 
lished as a unit within the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch. Until that time responsibility 
for women's clothing, both at the OQMG and 
at the Philadelphia Depot, was delegated to 
organizations responsible for men's clothing. 
This could not fail to affect the course of the de- 
velopment of women's clothing. A particularly 

noteworthy example is to be found in the case 
of specifications written by the depot which 
called for the use of haircloth and heavy canvas 
in women's jackets, as in men's. 83 As the result, 
a hard, stiff jacket was produced in place of one 
with the soft lines considered desirable in wom- 
en's clothing. 

Subject to the approval of Mrs. Oveta Culp 
Hobby, who participated in the preliminary 
planning as Director Designate of the WAAC 
prior to the passage of legislation establishing 
the organization, a design for a WAAC service 
uniform was developed in three months of furi- 
ous activity in the OQMG between February 
and May 1942. The uniform evolved painfully; 
it was the design of no one person but the re- 
sult of group work. As originally developed the 
uniform consisted of a six-gore skirt and a semi- 
fitted, single-breasted jacket, using four buttons 
down the front and a detachable belt of self- 
material with cloth-covered plastic buckle. 
There were two upper breast pockets with flaps 
and two lower, diagonal, slash pockets. 84 All 
subsequent modifications were improvements 
of this basic design. 

No sooner was the first issue of the summer 
uniform made at Fort Des Moines in July 1942 
than a barrage of criticism was let loose which 
resulted in further study of the appearance, fit, 
pattern, and functional suitability of the uni- 
form. 8 ' From the fall of 1942 through 1944 
modifications were made in the uniform begin- 
ning with the elimination of the jacket belt and 
working through improvement of patterns. 

85 ( 1 ) Interv, OQMG historian with Miss Maxine 
Spengler, PQMD consultant, 23 Apr 45. (2) The 
Philadelphia Depot justified its action by insisting that 
the jacket was a uniform, not a civilian outfit, and that 
a more substantial construction was necessary in order 
to eliminate the need for frequent pressings. Interv, 
OQMG historian with Maj Wm. L. Johnson, PQMD, 
20 Apr 45. 

84 Memo, Gen Gregory for ACofS G-l, 16 May 42, 
sub: Uniform for WAAC. 

85 Risch, A Wardrobe for the Women of the Army, pp. 



THE ORIGINAL WAAC UNIFORM. From left to right, officers' winter uniform, officers' summer 
uniform, and enlisted women's winter uniform. 

Much of the difficulty came from pattern defects 
which were eliminated only when commercial 
pattern makers were called in. In the hasty pro- 
curement of the first uniforms, the manufactur- 
ers rather than the OQMG or the Philadelphia 
Depot had made the original patterns. Since 
there had been no test made of their correctness 
prior to procurement, whatever was wrong with 
the basic patterns was reproduced in both the 
summer and winter uniforms initially procured. 
Later when the Philadelphia Depot incorpo- 
rated many improvements in the patterns, the 
desired results were not achieved because the 

depot had to utilize the facilities of the men's 
garment industry. Accustomed to tailoring 
men's uniforms, they retained in their produc- 
tion of women's uniforms the characteristics of 
men's clothing. The manufacturers of women's 
clothing were not able to handle the production 
of uniforms at prices the depot was willing to 
pay, particularly when the WAAC program was 
greatly expanded in November 1942. Further 
difficulties stemmed from the fact that the qual- 
ity work of a designer of high-priced clothing 
could not be duplicated in the mass production 
of the jacket. Gradually these difficulties were 



adjusted and a satisfactory uniform was eventu- 
ally achieved. 

Basic to the trend of the development of the 
uniform was the fact that the director of the 
WAAC and her associates wanted to look as 
much like the Army as possible. Although this 
policy was questioned by the OQMG, it was 
never changed by WAAC Headquarters. The 
WAAC selected Army colors for the uniform 
and adopted a shirtwaist and the Army regula- 
tion khaki tie. These were included in the items 
submitted for general staff approval by The 
Quartermaster General on 16 May 1942, along 
with an overcoat, a raincoat, an in-between util- 
ity coat, and the WAAC cap, adopted after pro- 
longed discussion and the fashioning of innu- 
merable samples. By 1945 this cap had been 
dropped in favor of a garrison cap. 

Unlike the WAAC, the ANC could trace its 
history back to the Civil War, but only after it 
was established as a part of the United States 
Army in 1901 was the provision of adequate 
uniforms a possible problem. Even then the 
need was not recognized, and a uniform was not 
adopted until World War I. In the next twenty 
years little consideration was given to the ade- 
quacy of the nurse's wardrobe. Not until war 
loomed in 1940, and it was apparent that the 
ANC would have to expand, was any effort 
made to improve the outdoor uniform in design 
and color. At the suggestion of the Office of the 
Surgeon General new blue uniforms were 
adopted, but various complications prevented 
the nurses from being fully equipped with the 
new uniform even at the beginning of 1942. 
Belatedly it was discovered that the nurses' 
wool uniforms and overcoats were cut on mas- 
culine lines not adapted to the female figure 
and bore no relation in sizing to the standard 
forms used commercially. 86 

Early in 1941 the Philadelphia Depot began 
to cope with the problem of sizes and patterns. 
At the same time the OQMG was becoming 
immersed in the problem of providing clothing 

for the WAAC, but not until the fall of 1942 
was any effort made to correlate the develop- 
ment of clothing for the two organizations. 
Then a program of co-ordination was gradually 
developed, leading to the adoption of the same 
service uniform for both the WAAC and the 
ANC. Other items of the outfit, such as waist, 
necktie, stockings, gloves, and coats were iden- 
tical for Army nurses and Waacs. The only dis- 
tinctive items of the nurses' uniform were the 
cap, bag, and insignia. The impact of all the 
modifications in the WAAC uniform was felt 
in the nurses' outfit. 

No adequate consideration was given to the 
development of functional clothing suitable to 
the various occupations performed by the wom- 
en of the Army. This was particularly true of 
the nurses. The one set of outdoor clothing and 
six ward uniforms supplied nurses sent overseas 
could scarcely be described as sufficient for 
active service. An OQMG observer in the 
NATO wrote as follows: 

There is one Service in the American Army that 
has been sadly neglected in the way of providing 
clothing for combat areas. This Service is the 
Army Nurses' Corps. Formerly, peace-loving 
Americans could only picture the nurse in a tidy 
established hospital well back in the rear areas; 
however, such is definitely not the case. Army 
nurses now accompany task forces on landing oper- 
ations. They go through exactly the same rigors of 
warfare as do the soldiers, with the exception that 
they do not participate in actual combat. The 
nurse's duties are to follow as closely as is necessary 
the progress of the fighting troops. Thus in land- 
ing operations they disembark shortly after the in- 
vasion troops have forced a beach head and imme- 
diately upon landing begin their duties of serving 
the wounded. During land battles, they proceed as 
close to the fighting front as is reasonably safe in 
order to carry out their medical work. It can now 
be seen that the nurse travels the same route as the 
soldier. Consequently, she must have clothing that 
is as rugged and as well-designed as the combat 

86 Ibid., p. 101. 



ARMY NURSE CORPS UNIFORMS. Old winter uniform (left) and new winter uniform (right, 

soldier's. Nurses lacked this type clothing during 
the Tunisian campaign. It was impossible for them 
to wear the usual nurse's dresses, caps, chic under- 
wear, Cuban heel shoes, etc. In order to keep ade- 
quately warm and be able to hit foxholes when 
necessary, the American nurses were forced to wear 
regular men's G. I. underwear, shoes, HBT suits, 
helmet with helmet liner, etc. Needless to say, 
women's sizes differ from men's. Consequently, 
nurses were wearing shoes several sizes too large, 
HBT uniforms that could be wrapped around them 
twice, underwear that was not designed for femi- 
nine forms, and overcoats that draped around them 
like a tent. The only items that were satisfactory 
were the helmet and the helmet liner. It can be 
easily seen that the nurse was not as pretty a sight 
as she might well have been. In many cases, their 

sloppy dress caused considerable laughter. It is im- 
perative that the nurses have a uniform that will 
allow them freedom of movement and afford suffi- 
cient warmth and sufficient durability for wear in 
combat areas. 87 

When a thorough review of nurses' clothing 
was initiated in September 1942, hospital uni- 
forms were studied and redesigned to satisfy 
functional needs as well as to improve their ap- 
pearance. A new fabric, a 4-ounce brown- and 
white-striped seersucker, was selected for the 
hospital uniform to be worn in oversea areas. 

87 Rpt, Capt Pounder, QM Observer, Rpt of QM 
Opns in NATO, 5 Mar-Jun 43. 



Later in the summer of 1944 this same uniform 
was also authorized to be worn in the United 
States. The traditional white uniform was thus 
discarded during the war years in favor of the 
seersucker dress which provided a simple, short- 
sleeved, wrap-around uniform with a tie belt. 
The design was chosen to allow ease in fitting, 
and in laundering under difficult conditions. A 
matching seersucker jacket was developed to be 
worn with the uniform, thereby providing the 
nurses with a serviceable street outfit for warm 
weather. As designed, the jacket was made in a 
semifitted, collarless, one-button, cardigan style 
which was approved and standardized on 14 
December 1942. 88 A new seersucker cap was 
also designed for wear with the hospital uni- 

In the summer of 1943 it became necessary to 
develop other items as part of the hospital uni- 
form of the nurses. The Office of the Surgeon 
General indicated that nurses needed a uniform 
with trousers for wear on hospital ships and 
trains where it was frequently necessary to 
climb ladders to attend patients in upper bunks. 
It was also needed by all nurses in oversea areas, 
where normal duty required from time to time 
that they serve in hospitals using litters instead 
of beds. The OQMG requested the Philadel- 
phia Depot to develop seersucker slacks and 
shirts. These were standardized on 28 August 
1943. 89 

Insofar as suitable work clothing was con- 
cerned, Waacs fared no better than nurses in the 
beginning. In the initial development of cloth- 
ing neither WAAC Headquarters nor the 
OQMG gave much attention to work clothing, 

88 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Chief of Devel- 
opment Br, Reqmts Div, SOS, 30 Nov 42, sub: Stand- 
ardization of Seersucker Jacket, and 2d ind, Gen Wood, 
SOS, to OQMG, 14 Dec 42. (2) Insp rpt, Miss Emily 
Alexander to TQMG, 23 Jan 43. 

89 ( 1) Ltr, Col R. W. Bliss to TQMG, 6 Jul 43, sub: 
Nurses Uniforms. (2) Ltr, Capt W. P. Barrett, OQMG, 
to CO PQMD, 1 Jul 43, sub: Women's Seersucker 
Trousers and Shirts. (3) [4th ind], Gen Wood, ASF, 
to TQMG, 28 Aug 43. 




primarily because the duties which the Waacs 
were to perform were not clearly denned until 
long after the program was under way. Origi- 
nally a one-piece herringbone twill suit and 
later a two-piece suit provided satisfactory sum- 
mer work clothing. The major portion of 
WAAC activity, however, was thought of in 
terms of clerical and administrative work for 
which the service uniform was regarded as ade- 
quate. It proved, however, to be wholly inade- 
quate as winter apparel for personnel engaged 
in outdoor occupations, such as motor trans- 
port service, or for personnel performing many 
duties at unheated hangars or other buildings 
where warm clothing was required. In the win- 
ter of 1942^3 and part of 1943^4, WAAC 
personnel engaged in outdoor activities were 
issued whatever warm clothing was available at 
the discretion of the commander of the local 
post. This included enlisted men's items, such 
as overcoats, wool socks, long wool drawers and 
shirts, combat jackets and trousers, as well as 
CCC mackinaws. 

At the same time that WAAC Headquarters 
in the fall of 1942 was requesting suitable win- 
ter clothing for motor transport units, the 
Office of the Surgeon General requested The 
Quartermaster General to standardize arctic 
equipment for nurses. 90 In its developmental 
work the OQMG used the same basic principle 
of layering which had been applied in fashion- 
ing men's clothing. Items developed for the 
men were now adapted for the use of women, 
and nurses and Wacs were provided with outer 
cover trousers and wool liners; with the field 
jacket, M-1943, liner, and hood; and with a bat- 
tle jacket. Although in arctic clothing men con- 
tinued to use pile liners, in women's arctic 
clothing wool liners replaced them. 

Where soldiers were sent, nurses and Wacs 
soon followed; hence suitable tropical clothing 
was as essential for them as cold-climate cloth- 
ing. Both the WAC and the ANC were critical 
of herringbone twill garments. Requests for 

khaki slacks and shirts came from the NATO 
for WAC drivers as well as from the SWPA for 
nurses. Malaria control officers in the latter area 
would not permit nurses to wear either herring- 
bone twill or seersucker slacks and shirts be- 
cause they offered insufficient protection against 
mosquitoes. After considerable developmental 
work khaki shirts and slacks were classified as 
standard items of issue to women personnel. 91 

In providing appropriate women's footwear, 
the QMC duplicated the course of development 
for men's shoes. Nurses were sent overseas early 
in the war in service shoes wholly inadequate 
to the demands of field wear. Quartermaster 
technicians were not unfamiliar with the prob- 
lem of furnishing shoes for women, but com- 
mercial lasts had always been used in shoes 
procured for the ANC. There was a tendency 
to leave the details of specifications to the dis- 
cretion of the contractors, and thus the Army 
was unable to maintain rigid control of the 
quality or fit of the shoes it bought. The WAAC 
service shoe, originally selected and approved 
by WAAC Headquarters, was also made over a 
commercial last. Criticism from the field 
promptly revealed the unsuitability of this shoe. 

In the fall of 1942 a trend developed for uni- 
formity of footgear for all women in the Army. 
A systematic consideration of the shoe problem 
was begun, resulting in the development by the 
Boston Depot, in co-operation with industry, 
of satisfactory models for service and field shoes 
manufactured over government-owned lasts. 

90 ( 1 ) Ltr, Brig Gen L. B. McAfee, SGO, to CG 
SOS, 5 Sep 42, sub: Arctic Clo and Equip for Nurses, 
and 1st ind, Col Wood, Dir of Reqmts Div, SOS, to 
TQMG, 7 Sep 42. (2) Ltr, Gen Lutes, ACofS for 
Opns SOS, to TQMG, 27 Nov 42, sub: Clo for WAAC 

91 ( 1) Ltr, Col H. W. Roberts, Hq NATO, to TAG. 
25 May 44, sub: WAC Summer MT Uniform, and 1st 
ind, Dir of R&D Div ASF, to TQMG, 14 Jun 44. (2) 
Ltr, Maj Gen George F. Lull, SGO, to CG ASF, 3 Jul 
44, sub: Tropical Fid Uniform for Army Nurses. (3) 
QMCTC, min of mtg No. 21, 10 Oct 44. (4) 2d ind, 
Actg Dir of R&D Div ASF, to TQMG, on same. 



Subsequently, at the request of The Surgeon 
General, a combat boot, identical in design to 
that issued the men, was developed for nurses, 
except that it was made over the same last as 
the women's field shoe. 92 Thus the gamut was 
run from oxfords to combat boots for field wear. 

Textile and Leather Problems 

The design of functionally appropriate uni- 
forms for Army personnel was only one phase 
of the problem of developing Army clothing. 
The development of suitable military textiles 
also was fundamental. This field of activity had 
long received the attention of technicians at the 
Philadelphia Depot. In the interval between 
World Wars I and II, the laboratory of the de- 
pot had engaged in routine testing of fabrics 
and some experimental work directed toward 
the development of better military fabrics. Most 
of the standard fabrics used for Army uniforms, 
such as 18-ounce wool serge, 8.2-ounce cotton 
khaki, and herringbone twill, had been devel- 
oped prior to 1939. 

When the Military Planning Division, 
OQMG, initiated an integrated program of re- 
search in 1942, much was learned about both 
military clothing and fabrics. As the war pro- 
gressed, it was realized that improvements could 
be made. In regard to military textiles already 
accepted and in use, the Textile Section of the 
Research and Development Branch was con- 
cerned with obtaining such improvements by 
raising the level of specification performance, 
by adopting a better fabric construction, or by 
using a new finishing treatment. The shrink- 
proofing of woolens and the development of 
improved water-resistant fabrics were illustrative 
of this trend. 

One of the major fields of Quartermaster re- 
search during the war was the improvement of 
water-resistant fabrics. The use of cotton cloth 
with this characteristic had been introduced in 
the Army as a result of an order directing Maj. 

Gen. J. K. Parsons, commanding general of the 
Third Corps Area, to develop a lightweight field 
jacket to replace the service coat for field duty 
in 1939. Heretofore, like most other armed 
forces of the world, the American Army had al- 
ways fought in wool clothing. Abandonment of 
the use of wool in the outer garments of the 
Army was one of the important changes in mil- 
itary textiles during the war. It stemmed from 
the adoption of the layering principle applied 
to winter combat clothing. Wind-resistant, 
water-repellent cotton fabrics afforded the sol- 
dier better protection against wind and rain 
than wool. They were stronger, more resistant 
to tearing, and dried more quickly. 

At first a wind-resistant poplin and later, 
about the end of 1942, a 9-ounce sateen were 
developed and adopted for use in such garments 
as field jackets and outer cover trousers. In 1943 
the OQMG learned of a series of fabrics devel- 
oped at the Textile Institute in Manchester, 
England, which produced fabrics having better 
water-resistant properties than any known in 
this country. Basically, the principle of con- 
struction involved utilizing the swelling prop- 
erties of cotton when wet in such a manner as 
to close up the fabric, preventing the penetra- 
tion of water. Full data on the construction was 
obtained from the Textile Institute by the 
OQMG and applied by the textile industry in 
developing improved water-resistant fabrics. 93 
In 1945 a 9-ounce, wind-resistant oxford cloth 
became the standard fabric for winter combat 
clothing. It had been found in 1944 that dense 
fabrics were also satisfactory for a new purpose, 
namely, to give protection against mosquitoes. 
Hence they were used in the development of 
the tropical combat uniform. 

92 (1) Ltr, Gen Bliss, SGO, to TQMG, 29 Jun 44, 
sub: Footwear for Army Nurses Assigned to SWP and 
SP Theaters. (2) Risch, A Wardrobe for the Women of 
the Army, pp. 76-81. 

93 Col Kennedy, Chief of Textile Sec, "Problems for 
Future Quartermaster Textile Research," Textile Re- 
search Journal, November 1945, pp. 414-15. 



The problem of keeping the soldier dry in 
the field was susceptible of a second line of at- 
tack. His outer garments could also be made 
more protective by giving them a water-repel- 
lent treatment. Although some technologists 
believed that improved water repellents would 
solve the problem largely by themselves, the 
most satisfactory results were obtained by apply- 
ing the best available water repellent to specially 
designed water-resistant fabrics. 

Both before and during the war the QMC 
carried on research to develop improved water- 
repellent finishes. Though such developmental 
work was concentrated at the Philadelphia De- 
pot before the war, the depot's activities had 
been largely limited to liaison work with indus- 
try. Chemical manufacturers had for many years 
pursued intensive research on a competitive 
basis in this field, since water-repellent finishes 
were used on hunting and ski clothes and on 
tentage. They continued such research during 
the war years, when developmental work was 
undertaken by the Chemical Section of the Re- 
search and Development Branch. The Philadel- 
phia Depot co-operated in this work. 

At the beginning of the emergency the QMC 
was using a so-called durable type of water- 
repellent finish on cotton fabrics used for outer 
garments. 94 In the course of time deterioration 
of this finish resulted from either dry cleaning 
or laundering. As a consequence, either a more 
durable finish had to be developed, or such gar- 
ments had to be treated again in the field to 
insure water repellency for the lifetime of the 
garment. To restore water repellency to the gar- 
ment after laundering, the QMC, at the begin- 
ning of the war, was using an emulsion of 
waxes and aluminum salts. Not only did the 
Corps wish to improve this type but it was also 
desirous of developing an adequate solvent type 
of water repellent for use after dry cleaning. 

Developmental work in reference to such 
nondurable or re-treating types of water repel- 
lents was taken up with various chemical com- 

panies in 1942. The Philadelphia Depot co- 
operated in this experimental work, and a 
contract was signed with the National Associa- 
tion of Dyers and Cleaners, making its facilities 
available for testing purposes. As a result, the 
existing specification was revised to provide in- 
creased water repellency and stability. Field con- 
ditions of mobile warfare, however, would never 
permit constant re-treating of garments. If 
water repellency had any military advantage at 
all, it was argued, it would have to be in the 
garment prior to issue. This raised anew the 
question of durability. 

QMC personnel were divided between the 
advocates of durable and nondurable water- 
repellent treatments. Lack of knowledge con- 
cerning the true performance of water-repellent 
finishes dictated a systematic review of the 
whole field of such finishes. As the year 1942 
closed, a program to evaluate all commercial 
water-repellent products was inaugurated. Un- 
der a contract with the National Defense Re- 
search Committe, the Textile Foundation and 
the QMC conducted a study to determine bet- 
ter methods of evaluating water-repellent com- 
pounds. '" As a result of this work, four finishes 
were deemed sufficiently durable to meet the 
minimum military requirements and were ap- 
proved for Army use. Out of this developmental 
work emerged two new tests which proved 
effective in correlating laboratory test methods 
and actual wear performance to the extent that 
laboratory tests alone, thereafter, proved suffi- 
cient to evaluate additional finishes for flat cot- 
ton fabrics. 96 The QMC specification, "Test 
Methods for Textiles," was thereupon revised to 

94 (1) Interv, OQMG historian with Dr. J. E. Simp- 
son, Chemical Sec, Nov 1945. (2) Dr. J. E. Simpson, 
"The Army's Water Repellent Clothing," American 
Dyestuff Reporter, XXV (1946), pp. 243-52, 272, 

95 (1) R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Dec 42, 31 Jan 43. 
(2) For the details of this work see Risch and Pitkin, 
Clothing the Soldter of World War II, pp. 95-96. 

96 R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 Aug 44. 



provide for evaluation of new water-repellent 
finishes, not by fixed composition limitations, 
but by performance tests known to measure de- 
sired characteristics without reference to trade- 
name products. What was accomplished in ref- 
erence to water repellency was applicable, how- 
ever, only to cotton fabrics. Research in the use 
of water-repellent finishes for woolen fabrics 
was only beginning as the war ended. 

Although woolens constituted the major por- 
tion of Army clothing, little consideration had 
been given before the war to the role that 
shrinkage played in reducing the wearability of 
woolens. Industry had developed the sanforiz- 
ing process for cottons but had done little to 
produce washable woolens. By 1943 the prob- 
lem of shrinkage was being forcibly brought to 
the attention of the OQMG not only by the 
comments of observers in the field but also by 
salvage studies which revealed that shrinkage 
caused the great number of failures in all 
woolen garments. 

It was the high rate of shrinkage on socks 
which was the immediate cause for the initia- 
tion of a study of antishrink processes by the 
Research and Development Branch. 97 The 
branch believed that faster progress could be 
made by concentrating on one item. It selected 
the cushion-sole sock because field experience 
had shown that this sock was the most comfort- 
able to wear and afforded the most foot protec- 
tion. Its useful life, however, was very limited 
because shrinkage was so great after three to six 
field launderings that the sock became unwear- 
able. 98 

Of the several commercial processes available 
for pretreatment of socks to prevent shrinkage, 
one, using a chlorination treatment called the 
Hypol process, was found to be most satisfac- 
tory. To obtain the benefits of washability at the 
earliest possible time this process was applied 
to at least a part of the cushion-sole socks then 
under production. In the meantime further re- 
search was carried on in the hosiery industry. 

Through the National Research Council a proj- 
ect was set up for studying various shrinkproof- 
ing processes, which led to the conclusion by 
the late summer of 1944 that satisfactory results 
could be obtained with a very simple chlorina- 
tion on the alkaline side. The process was sim- 
ple enough for application in any mill with 
even the most meager equipment. Immediate 
attention, thereupon, was given to renegotiating 
contracts to provide for the application of this 
treatment to all cushion-sole socks, with the 
result that the cushion-sole sock industry was 
converted to the production of shrinkproof 
socks by the end of 1944." Subsequently the 
same treatment also was applied to heavy wool 
socks and wool ski socks. 

With the conversion of the hosiery industry 
under way it was possible for the OQMG to 
give consideration to shrinkage in other wool 
items. The information and experience gained 
in shrinkproofing one knitted item could be ap- 
plied to another, as, for example, woolen under- 
wear, which is usually knitted and made from 
the same type of merino yarn as socks. Work 
on the development of shrink-resistant treat- 
ments for woven fabrics was resumed simulta- 
neously. Considerable progress was made but 
none of these developments reached the pro- 
duction stage before the war ended. 

Quartermaster research was also interested in 
the development of any construction or finish 
that would make fabrics wear longer, thereby 
reducing the cost of Army clothing and textile 
equipage. One line of investigation was con- 
cerned with the development of abrasion-resist- 
ant finishes to be applied to textiles. Tests at the 
Philadelphia Depot revealed that greater claims 
for commercial treatments were made than 
could be verified. A second approach to the 

97 Ibid., 31 Jul 43. 

98 Capt Harry F. Clapham, "Washable Woolens for 
the Army," Proceedings of the Conference on Quartermas- 
ter Textile Research, p. 17. 

99 See R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Aug, 30 Sep, 31 
Oct, 30 Nov, 3 1 Dec 44. 



problem was made through the redesign of tex- 
tile fabrics. Increased durability was the goal 
sought by the OQMG, but although consider- 
able experimentation was undertaken, results 
were not immediately applicable to textiles 
utilized in World War II. 100 

The QMC was interested, too, in developing 
clothing which would afford some protection 
against flash burns. The Armored Force needed 
flameproof clothing for tank crews under com- 
bat conditions. The problem was turned over 
to the Philadelphia Depot early in 1943 with 
instructions to "carry on the necessary investi- 
gations to develop the best fire-resistant treat- 
ment for herringbone-twill to be used by tank 
troops." 101 In the meantime the OQMG ap- 
proached various manufacturers and co-ordi- 
nated the work with the Chemical Warfare 
Service. Developmental work continued into 
1945. By the end of the war a process for obtain- 
ing an excellent, durable, flame-resistant treat- 
ment on clothing had been developed and was 
just getting into production. 

The application of various treatments to tex- 
tiles has been here limited to a discussion of 
soldiers' clothing, but it had a wider potential 
use. Military textiles were also utilized in the 
form of tents and tarpaulins to provide shelter 
for both soldiers and materiel, and were used in 
many items of personal equipage. Developments 
in fabric construction and finishes were as ap- 
plicable to these items as to clothing. Jungle 
operations opened another large field of re- 
search, necessitating treatments to prevent mil- 
dew. The chief of the Textile Section in the 
Research and Development Branch believed 
that the progress made by the Army in the 
study of tropical deterioration of textile prod- 
ucts would rank as a major scientific achieve- 
ment in the field of biochemistry. 102 

If the Corps was concerned with improving 
textiles by changes in the construction of fabrics 
and by the application of various finishes, it was 
equally concerned with improving the quality 

of leather used in Army footwear. Considerable 
developmental work in tannages was conducted 
at the laboratory facilities of the University of 
Cincinnati. Improving the water resistance of 
leather was a fundamental research problem 
which was attacked in various ways. One 
method was to improve the quality of dubbing, 
a mixture of oil and tallow used to preserve 
leather and increase its resistance to water. 103 
Testing the relative merits of having the flesh 
side out or the grain side out was another ap- 
proach to the same problem, although tests re- 
vealed no appreciable difference in water resist- 
ance. The ultimate solution of this problem was 
dependent on considerably more research which 
was projected for the postwar period. 

Still another problem was mold and rot pre- 
vention in leather. Not only shoes but also 
various items of jungle equipment, such as 
machete sheaths, deteriorated rapidly because of 
the growth of molds under continual humid 
conditions. Mold preventive agents had been 
successfully applied to canvas, and some had 
been used commercially on leather. Information, 
however, was meager as to the effectiveness of 
such agents. The question of toxicity and re- 
sulting skin irritations had also to be considered 
since many of the leather items came into close 
contact with the soldier's skin. Under the Na- 
tional Defense Research Committee, a contract 
was negotiated with the University of Cincin- 
nati to develop a mold-proofing treatment for 
leather. The scope of this project was subse- 
quently widened to include studies of leather 
preservatives, shoe sterilization and disinfection, 

100 See R&D Br, Status Rpts, 29 Feb 44-30 Apr 45, 
sub: Wear Resistance of Apparel Textiles. 

101 Ltr, Col Kennedy, OQMG, to CO PQMD, 16 
Jan 43, sub: Flameproofing. 

102 (1) Col Kennedy, Textile Research Journal, No- , 
vember 1945, p. 419. (2) See also William H. 
Weston, "Tropical Deterioration of Textile Products," 
Proceedings of the Conference on Quartermaster Textile 
Research, pp. 29ff. 

103 See R&D Br, Status Rpts, 1943 and 1944, sub: 



thread preservation, and the effects of perspira- 
tion on leather. 104 

In the course of experimentation and testing 
at the University of Cincinnati and the National 
Bureau of Standards, it was established that the 
use of paranitrophenol was effective and safe. 
Its use was approved by the Office of the Sur- 
geon General provided that the skin did not 
come into contact with the leather. Specifica- 
tions accordingly were prepared in the spring of 
1945 for the protection of upper, midsole, and 
insole leathers used in military footwear for 
tropical areas, but the war ended and shoe con- 
tracts were canceled before mold preventives 
were applied to footgear. 11 " Experiments to im- 
prove the water resistance of leather and to pre- 
vent the growth of molds are illustrative of the 
trends in fundamental research in leather prob- 
lems, though they by no means cover all research 
undertaken by the Corps in this field. 


Since World War I there has been a growing 
awareness in the War Department of the need 
for continuous research in those branches which 
would contribute effectively to the military effi- 
ciency of the country. Unfortunately, the funds 
made available by Congress for this purpose in 
the period between World Wars I and II 
proved wholly inadequate. While some devel- 
opmental work was accomplished by the QMC 
during these twenty years, no integrated pro- 
gram of fundamental research was initiated 
before 1942. 

As a result of the World War II program, 
much pertinent data has been accumulated in 
reference to military clothing and the role it 
may play in maintaining or reducing the physi- 
cal resistance of the soldier. Clothing which af- 
fords inadequate protection against moisture, 
for example, necessitates the expenditure of 
body energy to evaporate the moisture in wet 

clothes. If the soldier is at rest, lying in a fox- 
hole or sleeping, he may not generate enough 
body heat to do this, with the result that body 
temperature is lowered, efficiency lost, and 
health endangered. Weight, too, is a drain on 
the soldier's reserves of resistance. The differ- 
ence between a 5-pound pair of combat boots 
and a 3-pound pair of jungle boots is equivalent 
in terms of heat stress to four times that differ- 
ence, or 8 pounds additional weight to be carried 
by the soldier. Additional weight means in- 
creased sweat production, pulse rate, and skin 
and internal temperature. The nearer to heat ex- 
haustion the soldier approaches, the lower his 
efficiency becomes. By bitter experience the 
jungle fighter learned the price of weight; he 
discarded all but the minimum essentials. Such 
factors of environmental protection and weight 
had to be taken into consideration by Quarter- 
master designers of clothing. Bulk and volume 
had also to be weighed in terms of thermal pro- 
tection as opposed to maneuverability. Finally, 
the designer had to assess the values of military 
appearance as these affected discipline and 

The emphasis placed on the development of 
suitable garrison clothing and footgear in the 
interlude of peace resulted in the failure to have 
in readiness adequate combat clothing when the 
emergency began in 1939. Increasingly, in the 
late thirties stress was placed on the develop- 
ment of functional clothing for general field use 
and there was a growing differentiation between 
barrack and field clothing. This interest of 
Quartermaster clothing designers in functional- 
ism was further stimulated by the impact of 
global war and the establishment of new types 
of military organizations. With the advent of 
war numerous new types of clothing and equip- 
ment were designed for parachutists, armored 

104 (1) R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 Aug 42. See month- 
ly Status Rpts thereafter for 1943 and 1944 under 
heading, Leather Mold and Rot Prevention. 

105 Ibid., 31 Aug 45. 



and mechanized forces, ski troops, and special- 
type forces serving in cold climates. 

In the beginning it was the tendency of the 
QMC to develop special garments for each new 
type of military organization. Procurement, 
storage, and issue of basic clothing by the 
Corps were rendered considerably more difficult 
by the need for processing different articles hav- 
ing similar functional use. The Philadelphia 
Quartermaster Depot early protested against 
this trend. 

With all due respect to the desires of higher 
authority for perfect protection and absolute suit- 
ability for specialized personnel, the multiplicity of 
new items of clothing and variations in design be- 
ing adopted without service tests will render the 
task of the Quartermaster Corps increasingly diffi- 
cult if not impossible of fulfillment unless a halt 
is called on all but essential changes. 106 

Even before the first phase of developing 
specialized items of clothing had ended, the 
OQMG began making the specialized parts 
interchangeable with the component parts of 
the basic uniform. It was felt that while differ- 
ences in climate and terrain in the various the- 
aters of war were complicating factors, they had 
to be subordinated to the development of stand- 
ard basic clothing for use by all arms and 
services. By the fall of 1942, therefore, the 
OQMG was moving toward the development 
of an all-purpose combat uniform, in the design 
of which the layering principle was adopted, 
and for the first time in Army clothing the use 
of wool in outer garments was abandoned. The 
trend in military clothing for men and women 
alike was from specialized types to a standardized 
field uniform. 

By consolidating garments having the same 
functional utility into single types the Military 
Planning Division promoted the simplification 
of the over-all Army Supply Program. In devel- 
opmental work special consideration was given 
to designing all-purpose items which could be 
substituted for one or more standard items. 

Thus one field jacket replaced numerous coats 
and jackets and two caps were made to serve the 
purpose of a multiplicity of headgear for winter 
and arctic wear. This trend toward simplifica- 
tion was still predominant in the developmental 
work under way when World War II ended. 

Using scientific methods the QMC sought 
improvements in both the construction of mili- 
tary fabrics and the finishes applied to them. 
Warmth without bulk, strength without weight, 
water impermeability without loss of air and 
water-vapor permeability, and elimination of 
shrinkage of wool without affecting its other 
qualities were the objectives. The scientific 
method necessitated careful analysis and pro- 
longed testing, and consequently, as hostilities 
ended, many of the items to which its findings 
had been applied were just getting into produc- 
tion. Much of the scientific work in progress 
remained to be completed in the postwar period. 

These considerations are equally applicable to 
developments in the field of design. It was 
futile, for example, to improve water-repellent 
finishes if designers used horizontal seams 
which permitted rain to wick through, thereby 
nullifying the advantages gained. As science 
was applied to the fundamental problems in- 
volved in the development of military textiles, 
it became apparent that the design of garments 
would have to be revised in the light of the 
findings. Much basic work remained to be ac- 
complished in the postwar period before all the 
anticipated advantages could be reflected in mil- 
itary clothing and textiles. Under the stimulus 
of war, scientific methods have been applied to 
Quartermaster problems and much has been 
achieved. In order to maintain superior stand- 
ards in Army clothing and footgear, it is 
obviously necessary to support a continuous 
program of research in peace as well as in war. 

106 Ltr, Col W. A. McCain, PQMD, to TQMG, 
4 Nov 40, sub: Complication of Clo Sup by Adoption 
of New Items. 


The Development of Personal 
and Organizational Equipment 

Among the Army supply services, the Quar- 
termaster Corps has by far the broadest range of 
responsibilities in the field of equipment, which, 
in military terminology, includes everything 
needed to outfit an individual or an organiza- 
tion. Generally speaking, everything that is not 
a weapon nor so technically specialized as to fall 
naturally into the province of one of the other 
services is a Quartermaster item. In the follow- 
ing discussion equipment is limited to items of 
personal equipment, such as field packs, sleep- 
ing bags, and intrenching shovels, carried by 
the combat soldier, and to organizational equip- 
ment, such as field ranges, mobile shoe and 
clothing repair units, textile repair units, and 
mobile sterilizer and bath outfits, issued to units 
in the field. 

To trace the development of each of the nu- 
merous items of personal and organizational 
equipment procured and issued by the Corps is 
neither feasible nor necessary to an understand- 
ing of the problems involved. Representative 
items within major groups, therefore, have been 
selected for detailed treatment to illustrate the 
difficulties encountered and the trends that 
developmental activity took in solving them. 

Personal Equipment 

Much of the personal equipment issued to 
the American soldier in World War II was the 

same kind that his father carried in 1917. The 
uniform of World War I had been modified in 
the interval of peace to provide an improved 
garrison outfit, but little or no change had been 
made in personal equipment, primarily because 
large quantities of such supplies were on hand 
from World War I. Some refinements had been 
introduced, particularly in the thirties, but these 
were minor in character. Not until World War 
II was well under way were any significant 
modifications made to improve items of equip- 

Field Packs, Bags, and Carriers 

The basic equipment of the soldier in the 
field has always included some sort of knapsack, 
or pack, to carry spare clothing, miscellaneous 
small equipment, blankets, personal articles, 
and sometimes rations. Since the U. S. Army 
pack was made of duck and webbing and since 
brass was used in the form of buckles, rings, 
grommets, and other small hardware to join, 
open, close, or suspend its various parts, war- 
time shortages in these materials affected the 
pack's design. All developmental work in tex- 
tile finishes, such as that with regard to abrasion 
resistance and water resistance, was applicable 
to textiles used for packs and other equipage, 
just as it was to those converted into clothing. 
Mildew-resistant treatments were also applied 
to all textile equipage items during the war. 



Virtually no change had taken place since 
1918 in the infantry pack used in the field. 
Some refinements had been made in it, but 
when World War II began the Army retained 
the haversack with a detachable pack carrier as 
one of" the two basic items for carrying personal 
equipment in the field. Known collectively as 
the field pack, M-1928, it was difficult to sepa- 
rate when a light field pack was needed. Actu- 
ally, the haversack was a canvas wrapper in 
which equipment was rolled. It was complicated 
to assemble, and the completed pack was long 
and narrow, with a high silhouette. The other 
basic item was a relatively small canvas field 
bag, M-1936, based upon the design of the 
French musette bag. It had a number of com- 
partments in which a few personal effects as 
well as maps and papers could be carried. Orig- 
inally intended for the use of officers, in World 
War II it was also issued to motorized units and 
various other types of troops. 

As in the design of clothing, attention in 
1941 was first concentrated on the develop- 
ment of equipment for specialized troops. 
Neither the haversack nor the canvas field bag 
was adequate for arctic or jungle use. For ex- 
ample, a more suitable carrier had to be devel- 
oped for troops sent to the defense of Alaska. 
The standard Army pack was too small to carry 
the personal equipment necessary to a soldier 
operating in extremely cold weather. The load 
shifted around too much for safe skiing, and the 
pack restricted free movement of the arms es- 
sential in skiing and climbing. Brig. Gen. Simon 
B. Buckner, Commanding General, Alaska De- 
fense Command, recommended the use of the 
"Norse Pac," a form of rucksack carried by Nor- 
wegian and other European ski troops. 1 

The OQMG and the Jeffersonville Quarter- 
master Depot, following this recommendation, 
co-operated with industry in developing a spe- 
cial type of carrier for arctic and mountain 
troops called the rucksack, based on the design 
of the Norse Pac. This was a large-capacity 

canvas sack, closed at the top by a drawstring, 
with a covering flap and pockets at the back and 
sides. It had web shoulder straps and a web 
belly strap which encircled the body and pre- 
vented the sack from swinging while the soldier 
was in motion. The sack was mounted on a 
light, tubular, steel frame so constructed that 
the weight of the whole pack was distributed 
low around the hips. Two of the frames, when 
detached from their sacks, could be attached to 
skis to form an emergency sled. A white cover 
for camouflage use in snowy country was issued 
with the rucksack. 2 

During the Attu operations, soldiers com- 
plained that the rucksack was too large and was 
extremely uncomfortable because it rested so 
heavily on the hips. The Quartermaster ob- 
server thought that the discomfort was caused 
by the frame and the improper packing of the 
rucksack. Even when heavier items were put on 
the top, however, the pack was "none too com- 
fortable." 5 While there were no subsequent 
changes in the basic design, a number of modi- 
fications to increase the efficiency of the rucksack 
were made during the war years. 

Jungle troops also needed a specialized type 
of carrier. The haversack, M-1928, was unsatis- 
factory for use in tropical swamps, where there 
was no dry or level ground on which to lay out 
a roll of cloth and insert personal effects accord- 
ing to a prearranged system. The jungle pack 
evolved from the experimental work conducted 
by Capt. Cresson H. Kearny in Panama. It con- 
sisted of a rainproof bag attached to the web- 
bing of the standard issue pack. Pairs of enclos- 
ing straps ran horizontally and vertically, 

1 Ltr, Brig Gen S. B. Buckner to CG Ninth CA, 
3 Mar 41, sub: Reduction in Number of Items of Alas- 
kan C&E and Modification of Specs. 

2 ( 1) QMC Spec JQD 88, 14 Mar 42, sub: Ruck- 
sack, 400. 1 141. (2) Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment 
for Special Forces, pp. 101-02. 

5 1st Lt Robert D. Orr, QM Observer, Rpt on Attu 
Opns, 11 May-l6Jun 43. 



permitting adjustment of the pack to any 
desired size. The bag was large enough to carry 
a considerable load. It closed at the top with a 
cord and was covered by a rainproof flap. On 
top of this flap was a small zippered pouch for 
canteen, medical kit, and other small articles. 
Separate waterproof bags in the main pack kept 
the hammock, spare clothing, and rations dry 
and gave added buoyancy to the pack when it 
was necessary to swim with it. 4 

On the whole the jungle pack was satisfactory 
in its first large-scale use in the Southwest 
Pacific. It had definite advantages over the haver- 
sack, M-1928. There was, however, some com- 
plaint because the arrangement for fastening on 
the bayonet was so far back that a man wearing 
the pack could not reach it. The web strap 
proved uncomfortable, and the canvas surface 
which rested on a man's back caused sweating 
and produced prickly heat. Critics from New 
Guinea complained that the bag was not water- 
proof, but the Quartermaster observer noted 
that this criticism arose from a misunderstand- 
ing of the use of the waterproof clothing bag. 
Intended as a liner to the jungle pack, the water- 
proof clothing bag, he found, was used as a field 
equivalent of the barracks bag. Renaming it a 
"pack liner," he felt, would clarify its real 

When the QMC had completed its develop- 
mental work on the jungle pack in the summer 
of 1942, it continued to study possible modifica- 
tions of the item, including enlargement to 
carry a heavier load, which would make it 
adaptable for general Army use. The pressure of 
other priority projects, however, prevented any 
progress from being made until the beginning 
of 1943 when experimental models embodying 
these modifications were developed. 

By the spring of 1943 contracts for haversacks 
and pack carriers were expiring and new pro- 
curements were required. Headquarters, AGF, 
favored the replacement of haversacks, pack car- 
riers, and canvas field bags by the jungle pack, 


except where the canvas field bag was issued to 
officers and enlisted men in cavalry and moun- 
tain units. 6 Tests of the enlarged jungle pack 
were under way at the Quartermaster Board 
when a subcommittee of the Quartermaster 
Corps Technical Committee recommended 
standardization of the jungle pack, renamed the 
field pack, M-1943. The committee, however, 
sponsored only limited procurement of the 

4 ( 1) QMC Spec JQD 190, 10 Aug 43, sub: Jungle 
Pack, 400.1141. (2) Pitkin, Quartermaster Equipment 
for Special Forces, pp. 200ff. 

5 Rpt, 1st Lt Robert L. Woodbury, QM Observer, 
SWP Theater, 1 Feb-15 May 43. 

6 (1) Ltr, Col D. H. Cowles, OQMG, to Hq ASF, 
12 Apr 43, sub: Substitution of Jungle Pack for Haver- 
sacks, Pack Carriers, and Canvas Fid Bags. (2) 1st ind, 
Capt R. J. Delacroix, AGF, to CG ASF, 27 Apr 43, on 
same. (3) 4th ind. Col R. R. Robins, ASF, to TQMG, 
18 May 43, on same. All in 428. 



item. Standardization was held in abeyance 
pending further test before final adoption. 7 In 
the field this enlarged pack was not well re- 
ceived because of its bulk and the difficulty of 
packing and adjusting it. At the same time 
officers returning from the Pacific commented 
favorably upon the versatility of the Marine 
Corps pack. 8 

Personnel in the AGF were experimenting 
with a pack embodying the best ideas of the 
Marine pack, the canvas field bag, and the 
jungle pack. The salient characteristic of this 
experimental pack was its construction in two 
separable sections, which permitted the soldier 
to drop a part of it, retaining a small light- 
weight pack for combat. Salvage crews gathered 
the dropped portion. This pack was the proto- 
type of the cargo-and-combat field pack ulti- 
mately developed. In the spring of 1944 the 
AGF proposed that this field pack be standard- 
ized without tests. The OQMG opposed adop- 
tion of any untested item, but it was willing to 
supply the pack if requested by the AGF, pro- 
vided the latter realized that production could 
not be halted immediately after adoption to 
make improvements or modifications. Mean- 
while, the Infantry Board expressed an adverse 
opinion of the item. This field pack was not 
standardized but the QMCTC recommended 
development of a new pack along the general 
lines requested by Headquarters, AGF. On the 
basis of a directive issued by Headquarters, ASF, 
the QMC, in co-operation with the AGF, began 
work to develop a divisible type of pack. 9 

As developed, the field pack, M-1944, con- 
sisted of two parts. The upper part, called the 
combat pack, was about the size of the former 
canvas field bag. The lower part, known as the 
cargo pack, was similar to an overnight bag but 
somewhat larger. A small canvas handle was at- 
tached so that it could be used as a traveling 
bag in garrison. It was standardized as the 
cargo-and-combat field pack, M-1944, on 20 
July 1944. Many modifications recommended 

by the Infantry Board were approved in the 
standardization action. 10 

Under test by the Infantry Board, the quick- 
release buckles used on the pack were found un- 
satisfactory. They did not provide a connection 
tight enough to prevent the pack from swaying. 
Straps running under the cargo bag and at- 
tached to three-bar buckles on the combat pack 
were therefore substituted. This change was the 
chief difference between the modified pack and 
the original M-1944 model. The AGF recom- 
mended the incorporation of this modification 
into current procurement at the earliest possible 
moment. 11 

Standardization of the improved M-1945 
cargo-and-combat field pack, however, was held 
up for some time pending a decision to elimi- 
nate the canvas field bag in favor of the new 
field pack in the Table of Equipment (T/E) 21. 
The AGF felt that improved items of equip- 
ment should be issued to combat troops as soon 
as available. The OQMG, on the other hand, 
preferred to issue haversacks, pack carriers, and 
canvas field bags until the supply was exhaust- 
ed. It indicated that there would be difficulty in 
manufacturing sufficient cargo-and-combat field 
packs because the supply of duck and webbing 

7 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 27 May 

43, sub: Fid Pack. (2) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 12, 
8 Jun 43. Both in 428. 

8 Maj D. L. McCaskey, The Role of Army Ground 
Forces in the Development of Equipment (AGF Studies 
34, 1946), p. 84. 

9 (1) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 5, 28 Mar 44. (2) 
Ibid., No. 6, 4 Apr 44. (3) Maj W. H. McLean, Ex 
Off QMCTC, to TQMG, 6 Apr 44, sub: Fid Pack, 
and 3d ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 15 Apr 44, on same. 
All in 428. 

10 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 23 Jun 

44, sub: Cargo-and-Combat Pack. (2) QMCTC, min 
of mtg No. 12, 27 Jun 44. (3) Ltr, Col Doriot, 
OQMG, to CG ASF, 5 Jul 44, sub: Cargo-and-Combat 
Pack, and 2d ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 20 Jul 44, on 
same. All in 428. 

11 Ltr, Dir of Inf Bd to Chief of Ground Reqmts 
Sec, ASF, 24 Oct 44, sub: Cargo-and-Combat Fid Pack, 
and 1st ind, Hq ASF to CG ASF, 1 Nov 44, on same, 



was very critical. Despite the supply difficulties 
the cargo-and-combat field pack, M-1945, was 
standardized on 9 April 1945, at which time 
the M-1944 pack was reclassified as limited 
standard. 12 

The design of new tools and new weapons 
for the soldier forced Quartermaster develop- 
ment of new carriers, sheaths, and scabbards to 
enable him to carry such equipment, or of new 
ways for attaching them to his webbing gear. 
Thus the creation of a new intrenching shovel 
required a new carrier so that the soldier might 
attach it to his pack. When the Ordnance De- 
partment procured and began to issue a new 
carbine, .30-caliber Ml, the QMC in the fall of 
1942 was called upon to develop a canvas scab- 
bard for carrying it that could be strapped to 
the leg. In field use this item proved impracti- 
cal and was subsequently declared obsolete. 
Development of an 18-inch machete for jungle 
troops necessitated the design of a suitable can- 
vas sheath. 

Similarly, new types of ammunition required 
the development of new ammunition carriers, 
such as the general-purpose ammunition bag, 
standardized in the spring of 1943 and capable 
of carrying nineteen different types of ammuni- 
tion, and a rocket-carrying bag, completed 
about the same time, to carry ammunition for 
the 2.36-inch rocket launcher (bazooka). A new 
but unsuccessful approach to this problem was 
the utilization of cargo pockets as ammunition 
carriers. These pockets were used in the jungle 
suit, in herringbone twill trousers, and in ex- 
perimental models of cotton trousers. Although 
the OQMG enthusiastically endorsed them, the 
soldier in the field was just as vigorously op- 
posed to their use. An adverse report from 
NATO noted that cargo pockets on combat 
trousers "bulged like the chaps of a Hollywood 
cowboy." It was found preferable to carry gre- 
nades in an empty canteen cover. From the 
Pacific came word that troops regarded cargo 
pockets as a "nuisance." 13 Actually, cargo pock- 

ets were never used extensively as ammunition 
carriers and in fact had disappeared entirely 
from combat uniforms by 1944. 

The new duffel bag, developed to replace the 
denim barracks bag, contributed much to the 
comfort and convenience of the soldier. The blue 
denim barracks bag had been issued in World 
War I and, after modification and standardiza- 
tion in 1929, was being procured when World 
War II began. Late in 1941 the Standardization 
Branch proposed redesigning this bag, making 
it longer and narrower in shape, and substitut- 
ing the more durable olive drab duck for denim. 
The impact of war requirements on the duck 
industry, however, was so great that duck was 
not available. Denim therefore was retained as 
the fabric but its color was changed to an olive 
drab. This barracks bag, made with a round 
bottom, was 32 inches high and l4V^ inches in 
diameter. It used a drawstring closing. 14 

The QMC knew at the time that a denim bag 
would not compare favorably with one made of 
duck, and field reports soon made the fact pain- 
fully apparent. The barracks bag was criticized 
because of its poor shape. When packed, it 
bulged at the sides and took the form of a ball, 
awkward to stow or to carry. Each soldier re- 
quired two barracks bags to contain his cloth- 
ing, making the handling extremely difficult. 
The usual method was to tie the strings to- 
gether and put the loop over the shoulder, car- 
rying one bag in front and the other in back. 

12 (1) 2d ind, Gen Doriot, OQMG, to Hq ASF, 21 
Feb 45, on Itr, Hq AGF to CG ASF, 7 Feb 45, sub: 
Basis of Issue for Cargo-and-Combat Fid Pack. (2) 
Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 27 Feb 45, sub: 
Cargo-and-Combat Fid Pack. (3) Ltr, Gen Doriot, 
OQMG, to CG ASF, 12 Mar 45, same sub, and 2d 
ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 9 Apr 45, on same. All in 

13 (1) Capt W. F. Pounder, Jr., QM Observer, Rpt 
of QM Opns in NATO, 5 Mar-2 Jun 43. (2) Rpt, Lt 
Col W. J. Preston, Jr., to CG AGF, 1 May 45, sub: 
Observations During Recent Opns of XXIV Corps in 

14 Standardization Br, Rpts of Test and Develop- 
ment Work in Progress, 2 Jan-1 Apr 42. 

BARRACKS BAG with drawstring closing. 

DUFFEL BAG with improved closure. 



This soon proved tiresome, whereupon the sol- 
dier resorted to dragging both along the ground 
behind him. The bags quickly wore through 
and their contents were lost. The barracks bag 
proved thoroughly unsatisfactory when the sol- 
dier was shipped overseas. At debarkation it fre- 
quently burst. One of the bags was stored in 
the hold of the ship, and when the soldier went 
ashore and moved away from the port area it 
frequently happened that it never caught up 
with him. A more substantial bag similar to 
that of the Marine Corps was generally in- 
dorsed. 15 

In the light of this field experience, the QMC 
began to develop experimental duffel bags large 
enough to carry the soldier's entire issue of 
clothing and equipment. In conjunction with 
representatives of the New York Port of Em- 
barkation, the OQMG worked out dimensions 
which would accommodate the soldier's full al- 
lowance of clothing and equipment and take 
cognizance of space requirements on board ship. 
It was soon apparent that a better means of car- 
rying the bag was needed than that offered by 
the Marine model. A double-purpose handle 
was therefore devised which permitted the bag 
to be carried at the side, like a suitcase, or slung 
over the shoulder, like a golf-bag. An improved 
closure was also contrived. The mouth was fit- 
ted with a long metal staple on one side. The 
eyelets on the three remaining sides could be 
slipped over this staple and held in place by a 
snap link attached to the end of the shoulder 
strap. The bag could be locked if desired. De- 
spite the fact that it was still in short supply, 
duck was used in the improved duffel bag which 
was standardized in April 1943. It was approxi- 
mately 12!/2 inches square and 37 inches in 
length. Because of fabric shortages and limita- 
tions of production, priority of issue was given 
to troops already overseas or embarking for 
theaters of operations. 16 During the critical 
shortage of duck and webbing in 1944-45 it was 
necessary to utilize substitute materials, but de- 

spite such occasional compromises in quality 
the duffel bag was stronger and more portable 
than the barracks bag. 

Shelter Half 

An important item of personal equipment 
carried by each soldier was a piece of canvas 
called a shelter half. Two soldiers, by matching 
shelter halves and the poles and pins they car- 
ried, were able to erect a field shelter for them- 
selves, the familiar "pup tent." Each shelter half 
consisted of a rectangular piece of canvas with 
a triangular piece sewed to one end. When the 
two pieces were buttoned together and assem- 
bled, they formed a tent closed at the rear and 
open at the front. In an effort to keep dry, sol- 
diers hung their raincoats over the front of the 
pup tent when it rained, but the shelter afforded 
little protection from the elements. Though the 
item was generally execrated by the troops who 
used it in 1918, nothing was done for the next 
twenty years to improve it. At the beginning of 
the emergency period all shelter halves on hand 
and in use had been bought during World 
War I. 

In the course of maneuvers during the emer- 
gency, suggestions for providing additional pro- 
tection were offered. A subcommittee of the 
QMCTC dismissed them as unsatisfactory but 
recommended that the Standardization Branch 
study the possibilities of improving the shelter 
half. 17 Shelter halves with triangular pieces 
sewn on both ends, to form completely en- 
closed tents, were tested by various service 
boards. The tests indicated that such shelter 

15 (1) Capt Pounder, QM Observer, Rpt of QM 
Opns in NATO, 5 Mar-2 Jun 43. (2) Maj C. M. 
Burnhome, Rpt 8 to Chief of Mil Ping Div, 29 Mar 43. 

16 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 19 Mar 
43, sub: Overseas Bag. (2) 4th ind, Dir of Reqmts 
Div, ASF, to TQMG, n. d., on same, 428. 

17 Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 14 Aug 40, 
sub: Redesign of Tent, Shelter Half, 400.112. 



halves would provide more protection and tent 
space. As a result this new shelter half was 
standardized in October 1941, and the old type 
was reclassified as substitute standard. 18 At the 
same time the subcommittee of the QMCTC 
recommended that stocks of the old type shelter 
half still on hand be modified by the addition of 
a second triangular piece. 

While the OQMG concurred in the recom- 
mendations it noted that a duck shortage ex- 
isted and recommended that no modification of 
the old style shelter halves be made for about a 
year, or until an adequate supply of duck be- 
came available. 19 Not until the fall of 1943 were 
sufficient quantities of duck on hand for the 
production of the new shelter half, which re- 
quired slightly more duck than the old. The old 
type shelter half was then reclassified from sub- 
stitute to limited standard. By the end of 1943 
all contracts for this type had been completed. 20 

Shelter-half tents were rarely pitched in oper- 
ations near the enemy, since they made obvious 
targets. When not pitched as a tent, the shelter 
half could be used as a ground cloth. It was not 
waterproof, however, and troops in the field 
continued to be critical of the item. The greater 
versatility of the German shelter tent was called 
to the attention of The Quartermaster Gen- 
eral. 21 It weighed one pound less than the 
American type, it could be made up into tents 
of varying size, and it could also be used as a 

Early in the war the Special Forces Section of 
the OQMG had investigated the desirability of 
equipping desert troops with a poncho in lieu 
of a shelter half and a raincoat. In October 1942 
the Research and Development Branch initiated 
a project to develop a sectional poncho tent, 
but this was dropped in mid-1943 upon direc- 
tive from Headquarters, ASF. In the meantime 
synthetic-resin-coated ponchos were developed 
and procured. When the possibility of using 
coated nylon arose, Headquarters, ASF, request- 
ed the OQMG to develop as soon as possible a 

lightweight poncho for use in the Southwest 
Pacific area. By 1944 a lightweight nylon pon- 
cho was standardized. 22 Versatility was its chief 
characteristic, since it could be used as a rain- 
coat, an individual shelter, a sleeping bag, or, if 
several were combined, a tent. 

The shelter half, unlike the German model, 
could not be utilized as a poncho. With slight 
modification, however, it could be assembled 
into tents of varying size. In September 1944 
the Research and Development Branch began 
to investigate the possibility of combining six 
shelter halves to form a six-man tent. This com- 
bination was accomplished by the use of ten 
buttonholes placed along the lower edge of the 
shelter half. On the strength of a report by the 
Field Artillery Board, the AGF requested that 
all future shelter halves be fabricated with this 
modification and that existing stocks also be 
modified. The Textile Section, OQMG, advised 
that contractors were working at capacity and 
estimated that the addition of ten more button- 
holes to each shelter half would reduce produc- 
tion by 30 percent. The QMCTC therefore rec- 
ommended that the change be accomplished "in 
future production as soon as possible consistent 
with maintenance of necessary production." 

18 (1) Ltr, Brig Gen C. L. Corbin, OQMG, to TAG, 
22 Aug 40, sub: Shelter Tents. (2) Memo, Actg Chief 
of Test Sec for Dir of Inf Bd, 1 Aug 41, no sub. (3) 
6th ind, TAG to TQMG, 20 Oct 41, on rpt, Subcom, 
QMCTC, to QMCTC, 1 Oct 40, sub: Redesign of 
Tent, Shelter Half. 

19 4th ind, Gen Corbin, OQMG, to ACofS G-4, 
11 Oct 41, on rpt cited in n. 18. 

20 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 23 Nov 

43, sub: Tent, Shelter Half (Old Style). (2) 3d ind, 
Hq ASF to TQMG, 15 Dec 43, on memo, Ex Off 
QMCTC, for TQMG, 30 Nov 43, same sub. (3) 4th 
ind, Col Doriot, OQMG, to CG ASF, 4 Jan 44, on 

21 Ltr, Maj Gen C. H. Gerhardt, Hq 29th Inf Div, 
to TQMG, 4 Oct 44, sub: German Shelter Tent, 424.1. 

22 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 22 Feb 

44, sub: Lightweight Poncho. (2) QMCTC, min of 
mtg No. 3, 29 Feb 44. (3) [3d ind], Hq ASF to 
TQMG, 19 Mar 44, 422.3. 



This action was approved by Headquarters, 
ASF, early in 1945. 23 

Sleeping Bags 

The necessity for providing better shelter for 
the soldier in the field turned Quartermaster at- 
tention to the problem of improved sleeping 
gear. Traditionally, blankets had been issued as 
a part of the personal equipment of the soldier. 
They were so provided in World War II. While 
the GI blanket was durable, it was not very 
warm for its weight and afforded inadequate 
protection no matter how artfully a bed was 

Protection was especially needed by troops 
stationed in extremely cold areas. Because of en- 
larged garrisons in Alaska, the OQMG placed 
primary emphasis on the development of spe- 
cialized sleeping gear for arctic and mountain 
troops. The arctic and the mountain sleeping 
bags, developed by the Corps early in the war, 
used down and feathers which were considered 
the best fillers available for sleeping bags. 

The problem in developing sleeping bags was 
to secure maximum insulation with a minimum 
of bulk and weight. The outer shell had to be 
water resistant but sufficiently permeable to en- 
able body vapors to escape and thus prevent 
condensation within the bag. In addition to 
these basic characteristics the sleeping bag had 
to be easy to get out of, durable, portable, and 

Early in the war Quartermaster consultants, 
in the interest of adding to the comfort of 
troops and increasing their efficiency, suggested 
the desirability of issuing sleeping bags to all 
troops in lieu of all or part of the blankets fur- 
nished them. Because practically all materials 
used in the production of sleeping bags were 
on the critical list, the wool-conservation com- 
mittee did not recommend adoption of a sleep- 
ing bag for the enlisted man as proposed in 
May 1942. 

Developmental work, however, continued 
and in the fall of 1942 the first specification for 
the wool sleeping bag was published. 24 Unlike 
the arctic and mountain sleeping bags, the wool 
bag was not filled with down or feathers and 
was made of knitted wool cloth. It was mum- 
my-shaped and provided with a 30-inch heavy 
slide fastener. Because of the extreme shrinkage, 
which occurred when the knitted wool cloth 
bag was laundered, the OQMG substituted a 
woven, 21 1 /2-ounce napped wool cloth in the 
summer of 1943. Thereafter wool sleeping bags 
were made of wool blanket material equivalent 
in weight and durability to that of standard 
Army blankets. The design was somewhat 
altered so that the bag could also be used inside 
the mountain sleeping bag. During the summer 
the Philadelphia Depot further amended the 
specification, and altered the pattern to conserve 
cloth and reduce cost. 25 

Consistent reports from the British Isles and 
other places with raw, cold climates emphasized 
the inadequacy of two blankets as sleeping 
gear. Headquarters, AGF, therefore requested 
standardization of the wool sleeping bag in the 
fall of 1943 and its issue on a basis of one for 
each man except in the tropics, the arctic, and 
in cold mountain operations. 26 Early in 1944 
the item was standardized. Because sufficient 
sleeping bags could not be manufactured im- 
mediately, the proposed basis of issue was mod- 
ified to provide one for each individual in the- 

" (1) Textile Sec to QMCTC Sec, OQMG, 10 Jan 
45, sub: Tent, Shelter Half, Modified. (2) Rpt, Sub- 
corn, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 9 Jan 45, same sub. (3) 
QMCTC, min of mtg No. 2, 16 Jan 45. (4) 1st ind, 
Hq ASF to TQMG, 2 5 Jan 45, on ltr, Col Doriot to 
CG ASF, 22 Jan 45, same sub. All in 424.1. 

24 QMC Spec PQD 273, 29 Sep 42, sub: Wool 
Sleeping Bag, 400.1141. 

25 (1) QMC Spec PQD 273B, 21 Jun 43, and 273C, 
30 Aug 43, sub: Wool Sleeping Bag. (2) Ltr, Maj 
Francis Boyle, OQMG, to CO PQMD, 4 Mar 43, same 
sub. Both in 400.1141. 

26 Ltr, Hq AGF to CG ASF, 22 Nov 43, sub: Wool 
Sleeping Bag, 427. 



aters of operations in temperate climates when 
approved by the commanding general of the 
theater. This issue was in lieu of the mandatory 
allowance of two wool blankets.- 17 After the 
wool sleeping bag became an item of issue for 
combat troops, further changes were made to 
conserve materials. At the same time a simpler 
method of construction speeded production of 
the bags, which were also increased in length 
and girth. 

During the winter of 1944-45 wool sleeping 
bags were issued in quantity to troops in Italy 
and northern Europe. Many modifications were 
suggested as a result of this first large-scale use 
of the item. There was general agreement that a 
longer zipper was needed to facilitate rapid 
egress from the bag. One observer reported: 

The bag, sleeping, wool is the best item of 
equipment that has ever been issued for the pur- 
pose of allowing men in the front areas to sleep. It 
is suitable for use by everyone except those actually 
in the very forward foxholes, i. e. by anyone who 
can reasonably expect 30 seconds warning before 
he must personally fight. 28 

Not all reports, however, agreed with this view. 
Some held that the wool sleeping bag was not 
practical for front-line soldiers, who had to re- 
spond rapidly to an alarm, and indicated a pref- 
erence for blankets. 29 The mummy-shaped bag 
was an issue bitterly fought over throughout 
the war. One of the problems was that soldiers 
had to learn new sleeping habits because of the 
restricting confines of the bag. Large individuals 
particularly had difficulties, and an oversized 
bag finally proved essential. 

An integral part of the sleeping-bag problem 
throughout the war was the development and 
use of a sleeping pad to minimize heat loss to 
the ground or snow under the pressure of the 
body. Although no acceptable solution was 
found, an experimental half-length air mattress 
which weighed only half a pound showed 

In the closing weeks of the war the wool 

sleeping bag underwent further modifications 
to meet the criticisms made. The slide fastener 
was lengthened to provide a closure at least 
seventy inches long, and a simplified construc- 
tion was provided in the new pattern which 
eliminated waste portions of cloth at the end 
and center of the pattern lay. The wool sleeping 
bag, M-1945, was standardized as the war 
ended. 30 

Intrenching Tools 

An indispensable item of individual equip- 
ment for combat use in World War II was the 
intrenching shovel. As a Quartermaster ob- 
server in Tunisia commented: 

This is one of the few items that the fighting sol- 
dier will not discard, but will actually carry right 
into battle with him. It is probably the most useful 
utensil that he has in his possession. In every new 
position that he takes, either advancing or retreat- 
ing, it is absolutely necessary that a foxhole be dug. 
When foxholes are needed, they are usually needed 
IN A HURRY- and DEEP! 31 

In contrast to the trench warfare of 1917-18, 
World War II emphasized the importance of 
individual shelters and foxholes. Each soldier 
had therefore to be provided with such tools as 
he would need under varying conditions of iso- 
lation and in varying types of soil. 

27 ( 1 ) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 26 Nov 
43, sub: Wool Sleeping Bag. (2) 3d ind, Hq ASF to 
TQMG, 18 Jan 44, on ltr, Ex Off QMCTC to TQMG, 
7 Dec 43, same sub. Both in 427. 

28 Ltr, Col Albert H. Dickerson, WD Observers Bd, 
Hq ETO, to CG AGF, 12 Feb 45, sub: AGF Rpt 638: 
Wool Sleeping Bag, 427. 

2<? (1) AGF Bd, MTOUSA, 8 Apr 45, sub: Rpt 370. 
( 2 ) Ltr, Hq 1.0th Mountain Div to CG MTOUSA, 30 
Mar 45, sub: Comment on Wool and Mountain Sleep- 
ing Bags. Both in 427. 

50 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 19 Jun 
45, sub: Sleeping Bags and Cases for Same. (2) Ltr, 
Hq AGF to CG ASF, 25 Jun 45, sub: Wool Sleeping 
Bag and Others. (3) 3d ind, Dir of R&D Div, ASF, to 
TQMG, 30 Jul 45, on same. All in 427. 

51 Capt Pounder, QM Observer, Rpt of QM Opns 
in NATO, 5 Mar-2 Jun 43. 



When the United States entered the war in 
1941, the American soldier was equipped with 
a number of intrenching tools adopted before 
World War I. These included an ax, a pick mat- 
tock, and a shovel standardized in 1910. The 
shovel was 22 inches long and weighed 29% 
ounces. In the spring of 1942 several minor 
changes were introduced. In particular, the cut- 
ting edge of the shovel was to be sharpened 
during manufacture so as to be ready for service 
when issued to the soldier. 32 

Shortly thereafter, upon oral directive of the 
Deputy The Quartermaster General, the Spe- 
cial Forces Section initiated a new project to 
improve the intrenching shovel. The T-shaped 
grip of the M-1910 shovel had a tendency to 
catch in barbed wire. It could not be used as a 
pick and its handle was not long enough. The 
object was to increase the effectiveness of the 
shovel without increasing its weight. Samples 
of Japanese and German Army shovels were 
studied with a view to incorporating their best 
features in the new design. The Special Forces 
Section sought to develop a combination tool 
to replace the shovel and pick mattock. Samples 
were developed of an experimental intrenching 
shovel which had one side of the blade sharp- 
ened and the other serrated for cutting through 
roots and low undergrowth. This shovel had a 
detachable handle designed for use as a pick. 33 
By the end of 1942 small quantities of these 
shovels had been procured and distributed for 
test purposes to various service boards. A Quar- 
termaster observer in the Southwest Pacific 
Theater carried a sample with him to New 
Guinea where it was well liked. "It was the 
consensus that this type of shovel was worth 
the extra weight, although it was thought that 
the weight could well be reduced. In coming 
over the Owen Stanley Mountains, a man with 
a shovel could never find a companion with a 
pick or vice versa; hence the enthusiasm for 
this new design." 34 • 

During the winter of 1942-43 the OQMG 

awaited the results of the tests being made. In 
March the Quartermaster Board reported that, 
with slight modifications, the intrenching 
shovel with a pike handle was for most pur- 
poses a satisfactory replacement for the M-1910 
intrenching shovel, the pick mattock, and the 
ax. Two months later, however, the Research 
and Development Branch closed this project on 
intrenching tools until formal authority for its 
continuance could be obtained from Headquar- 
ters, ASF. 35 

In July 1943 the AGF urged the adoption of 
an intrenching tool similar to the German 
shovel. 36 The chief distinguishing characteristic 
of the German item was its folding blade. 
When extended it was used as a shovel; when 
folded at right angles to the handle and locked, 
it served as a pick. For carrying, it could be 
folded completely against the handle. Exact du- 
plication of the German shovel was neither 
desirable nor possible. At the request of the 
Mechanical Section, the Ames Baldwin Wyo- 
ming Co. developed a shovel similar to the Ger- 
man type but adapted to American mass- 
production methods. High-carbon steel was 
substituted for the high-chrome-alloy steel, 
which was not available in this country. The 
construction of the shovel was strengthened, 
and it was made slightly longer and heavier 
than the German model. Despite the lack of 
service tests the QMCTC approved its adoption 
as a standard item of issue. The M-1910 in- 

52 QMC Spec JQD 104, 15 Apr 42, sub: Intrench- 
ing Shovel, M-1910, 400.1141. 

}J ( 1 ) Special Forces Sec to Product Test & Review 
Sec, OQMG, 23 Dec 42, sub: Japanese Intrenching 
Shovel. (2) Ltr, Capt John W. Mockabee to National 
Inventors Council, Dept of Commerce, 14 Nov 42, no 

34 Rpt, Lt Woodbury, QM Observer, SWP Theater, 
1 Feb- 15 May 43. 

35 (1) R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 Mar 43. (2) QMB 
Rpt, Project T-125, Rpt of Test of Intrenching Shovel, 
with Pike Handle, 16 Mar 43. (3) R&D Br, Status 
Rpt, 31 May 43. 

56 Ltr, Hq AGF to CG ASF, 14 Jul 43, sub: Indi- 
vidual Intrenching Tools. 




trenching shovel was reclassified as limited 
standard. 37 

This M-1943 intrenching shovel, which had 
been hurriedly standardized and put into pro- 
duction at the insistence of the AGF, was "an 
adequate shovel, a good hoe, only a fair pick 
and an indifferent axe." 38 At the time of stand- 
ardization the OQMG had requested the 
QMCTC to recommend further developmental 
work on intrenching tools in order that a better 
all-purpose tool might be devised. The fact that 
the various arms and services insisted that the 
pick mattock and ax were essential in addition 
to the M-1943 intrenching shovel was evidence 
that such research was justifiable. This recom- 
mendation, however, was rejected by Headquar- 
ters, ASF, on the ground that reports from 
NATO indicated that the intrenching shovel 

was satisfactory for the purpose intended. 39 

Although QMC activity was not continued at 
this time, the Infantry Board was developing 
and testing combination intrenching tools. It 
reported on a design which, it claimed, would, 
"when refined as to design for production," be 
a satisfactory and desirable combination in- 
trenching tool, suitable for standardization and 

37 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC to QMCTC, 12 Jul 

43, sub: Intrenching Shovel M-1943. (2) QMCTC, 
min of mtg No. 16, 20 Jul 43. (3) [4th ind], Hq ASF 
toTQMG, 28 Jul 43. 

38 (1) Insp Rpt, Eugene D. Hallock, Mechanical 
Sec, to TQMG, 13 Feb 45, no sub, 400.112. (2) Rpt, 
Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 12 Jul 43, sub: In- 
trenching Shovel, M-1943. (3) QMCTC, min of mtg 
No. 16, 20 Jul 43. 

59 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Hq ASF, 30 Jun 

44, sub: Intrenching Tool, M-1944. (2) 1st ind, Hq 
ASF to TQMG, 12 Jul 44, on same. Both in 400.112. 



issue in lieu of the intrenching shovel, M-1943. 40 
The OQMG agreed that there was a need for 
a combination intrenching tool which the 
shovel did not fill, but it did not concur in the 
conclusions drawn by the Infantry Board on the 
basis of its test. From a supply viewpoint, the 
OQMG objected because the manufacturing 
cost of the proposed design was prohibitive. In 
addition, it was a heavier tool than the intrench- 
ing shovel, adding weight to the soldier's load. 
Action by the QMCTC was deferred, and the 
OQMG initiated a project, utilizing the experi- 
ence gained in the Infantry Board test, to pro- 
duce test samples of improved combination 
intrenching tools, incorporating design features 
that would lend themselves to low cost and to 
mass-production facilities readily available. 41 
With the assistance of the Ames Baldwin 
Wyoming Co. several designs were worked out 
and were then submitted to tests by the several 
service boards. The Infantry Board and the 
Quartermaster Board agreed that the design 
which combined the shovel with a separate pick 
hinged on the same pin as the blade was most 
satisfactory. On the basis of the findings of the 
Infantry Board, Headquarters, AGF, recom- 
mended that this type of intrenching tool be 
standardized on the basis of one for each indi- 
vidual. 42 

A subcommittee of the QMCTC recom- 
mended that the combination intrenching tool 
be declared standard without further service 
tests. It further recommended that the new tool 
be issued immediately to combat and combat 
support units as replacement for the M-1943 
shovel, the pick mattock, and the ax, regardless 
of the condition of the intrenching tools in the 
possession of these units. The M-1943 shovel, 
pick mattock, and ax were reclassified as limited 
standard and were to be issued to units other 
than the combat and combat support units until 
exhausted. The new combination intrenching 
tool was standardized on 21 September 1945. 4 * 
Because the war had ended before this action 

was completed no procurement was made. 

In design the new tool was similar to the 
M-1943 shovel, but it was made of heavy steel 
and was of more rugged construction. The fold- 
ing pick was attached to the same hinge as the 
blade and could be locked in any one of three 
positions by the nut that locked the blade in 
position. These positions were (1) along the 
back of the handle, to be out of the way when 
the tool was used as a shovel; (2) at right 
angles from the handle for use as a pick; and 
(3) extended to 180 degrees from the folded 
position for use as a probe. When completely 
folded for carrying, the tool was 20 V2 inches 
long. In extended position it was about 28 
inches long and weighed slightly less than 50 

18-Inch Machete 

The basic tool essential for combat troops in 
jungle operations was the machete, useful for 
disposing of sentries and in ambush attacks at 
night, as well as for clearing a path through 
tangled vegetation. A commercial machete with 
a 22-inch blade and a leather sheath had been 
standardized in 1937 for issue to certain troops 

40 (1) IB Rpt 1549B, Intrenching Tools, 19 Oct 44. 
(2) 2d ind, Capt Holman Hamilton, AGF, to CG ASF, 

29 Nov 44, on Hq AGF to Pres, Inf Bd, 27 May 44, 
sub: Combination Intrenching Tool. 

41 (1) Mechanical Sec to Col Doriot, OQMG, 28 
Dec 44, sub: Rpt of IB 1594B, Intrenching Tools. (2) 
4th ind, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Hq ASF, 24 Jan 45, 
on Hq AGF to Pres of Inf Bd, 27 May 44, sub: Com- 
bination Intrenching Tool. Both in 400.112. 

42 ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col R. A. Meredith, AGF, to CG ASF, 

30 Jun 45, sub: Combination Intrenching Tool. (2) 
1st ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 4 Jul 45, on same. Both 
in 413.17. 

4} (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 7 Aug 
45, sub: Combination Intrenching Tool. (2) QMCTC, 
min of mtg No. 18, 14 Aug 45. (3) Ltr, Gen Doriot, 
OQMG, to CG ASF, 5 Sep 45, sub: Combination In- 
trenching Tool. (4) 1st ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 21 
Sep 45, on same. All in 413.17. 



COMBINATION INTRENCHING TOOL, folded (left) and open (right). 

in Panama. 44 Not until World War II, however, 
did the machete become an important item of 
personal equipment. 

When Capt. Cresson H. Kearny organized an 
experimental jungle platoon in Panama during 
the emergency period, he developed, among 
other items of jungle equipment, a machete 
with an 18-inch blade. This was a straight-back 
modification of the Collins commercial-type 
machete, proved by extensive use in the tropics. 
Machetes had been manufactured commercially 
in the United States for 150 years, but no manu- 
facturer had ever bothered to find out how they 
were actually used. As a consequence, the han- 
dle, with a sharp corner at the rear of the butt, 
was designed to be gripped tightly like a 
hatchet. The machete, however, depended on 
velocity rather than weight for its cutting ac- 
tion, being allowed to pivot in the hand during 

the stroke while held only with the thumb and 
the index and middle fingers. In this loose, free- 
swinging grip the sharp corner on the butt 
caused blisters. South American Indians had 
plenty of time to grind this corner down, but 
Army equipment had to be ready for use when 
issued. In the redesign of the commercial 
machete this corner was rounded off. A hole 
was also drilled in the handle for a wrist cord, 
which kept the machete from being dropped or 

In commercial practice it had also been cus- 
tomary to grind only a token edge on the blade, 
leaving the edge to be completed in the field. 
The Quartermaster specification remedied this 
omission by requiring the factory to do all the 

44 Ltr, Lt Col C. A. Hardigg, OQMG, to ASW, 27 
Sep 40, sub: Procurement Clearance, 400.1141. 



grinding. To avoid the action of tropical rot and 
mold upon leather, the OQMG replaced the 
leather sheath with one made of heavy, water- 
repellent duck. 45 

When General MacArthur requested delivery 
of jungle equipment in the summer of 1942, the 
AGF recommended that immediate steps be 
taken to adopt an 18-inch machete and sheath. 
The military characteristics of these items con- 
formed to those which had been evolved by 
Captain Kearny and the OQMG. Standardiza- 
tion was quickly accomplished. 46 The first speci- 
fication for the 18-inch machete had already 
been issued by the Jeffersonville Quartermaster 
Depot. This original specification was revised 
many times to incorporate modifications which 
improved the machete, such as the substitution 
of a Bakelite pistol-grip handle for the wooden 
one which often caused blisters. Both styles of 
handles, however, continued to be specified and 
procured. 47 

At the same time consideration was given to 
the problem of camouflage. Jungle troops rec- 
ommended that the 18-inch machete be fur- 
nished with an unpolished blade. Instead of 
going through the final processes of manufac- 
ture, the blades were taken immediately after 
forging, when they were still dark in color and 
scaled from oxidation. After being subjected to 
a tumbling process to remove the excess scales, 
the blades were left with a rough, dark finish. 
Tests in Panama indicated that not only did the 
"carbon-colored," unpolished finish of the blade 
reduce rusting but it also decreased the risk of 
the blade's reflecting the sun's rays and thus re- 
vealing positions to the enemy. Furthermore, 
the use of unpolished blades cut down the cost 
of manufacture and speeded production by 
eliminating bottlenecks in grinding machinery. 
Consequently, in November 1942, the OQMG 
directed the Jeffersonville Depot to change the 
existing contracts on the balance of the mache- 
tes being procured to incorporate this finish. 48 

The 18-inch machete proved an unqualified 

success. It was used, as intended, by jungle 
troops for cutting trails, and for a great variety 
of other purposes by natives who obtained pos- 
session of it. "The natives in New Guinea . . . 
use our machetes for everything imaginable, for 
building quarters, for constructing storage huts, 
for clearing air strips, for hacking out roads and 
trails and even, among the wilder natives, for 
taking Jap heads." 49 

Organizational Equipment 

Organizational equipment underwent few 
modifications in the decade following World 
War I. Limited Congressional appropriations 
during that period, as well as quantities of sur- 
plus equipment left from World War I, largely 
accounted for this lack of progress. By the mid- 
thirties, however, developmental activity was 
resumed in a leisurely manner. 

Modern warfare was increasingly character- 
ized by mechanization, with emphasis on auto- 
motive and motorized items. Aside from devel- 
opments in the field of automotive design, 
Quartermaster effort was predominantly de- 
voted to motorizing various types of organiza- 

45 (1) Rpt, Capt C. H. Kearny, 4 Sep 42, sub: De- 
scription and Use of New Indiv Jungle Equip. (2) Lt 
Woodbury to Hist Sec, OQMG, 11 Sep 43, sub: His- 
tory of Development of Jungle Equip. (3) Ltr, Maj 
Bestor Robinson, OQMG, to The Collins Co., 25 Jul 
43, no sub. 

46 ( 1 ) Ltr, Hq AGF to TQMG, 28 Jul 42: Stand- 
ardization of 18-Inch Machete. (2) Memo, Hq SOS 
for TQMG, 31 Jul 42, sub: Jungle C&E. (3) 4th ind, 
same to same, 31 Aug 42, on same. All in 422.3. 

47 (1) QMC Spec JQD 188B, 19 Nov 42, sub: 18- 
Inch Machete and Sheath. (2) Ltr, 2d Lt R. M. 
Toucey, OQMG, to CG JQMD, 20 Oct 42, sub: Ten- 
tative Spec JQD 188, 6 Aug 42 for Machete. Both in 

48 (1) Ltr, Lt Col H. E. Rounds, OQMG, to CG 
JQMD, 30 Nov 42, sub: 18-Inch Machete, M-1942, 
enclosing extracts from Rpt on Tests of Jungle Equip, 
17 Nov 42, by Capt Kearny, 474.7. (2) QMC Spec 

JQD 188E, 18 Feb 43, sub: 18-Inch Machete, M-1942, 

49 Rpt, Lt Woodbury, QM Observer, SWP Theater, 
1 Feb- 15 May 43. 



tional equipment in order to keep pace with the 
rapid advances made by mobile armies. When 
modern armies moved, practically all the serv- 
ices of a municipality had to move with them. 
Quartermaster mobile supply columns became 
"Main Street on wheels." 50 The QMC had to 
develop and perfect portable and mobile kitch- 
ens, bakeries, launderies, baths, and shoe, cloth- 
ing, and textile repair units. 

The tempo of development was greatly 
accelerated after 1939. Much of the preliminary 
developmental activity was accomplished in the 
emergency period so that when the United 
States entered the war in December 1941, the 
QMC was prepared to take the field with units 
equipped for mobile warfare. The use of such 
organizational equipment in Army maneuvers 
and particularly in the campaigns in NATO re- 
vealed shortcomings in portable and mobile 
equipment which were corrected by subsequent 

Two Quartermaster installations co-operated 
in this developmental work. Until August 1942 
the Holabird Quartermaster Motor Base, center 
of motor transport activities, and, throughout 
the war, the Jeffersonville Quartermaster De- 
pot, were active in developing mobile organiza- 
tional equipment. Within the OQMG the 
initial developmental work was accomplished 
through the co-operative efforts of the Motor 
Transport Division and various branches within 
the Supply Division responsible for particular 
phases of Quartermaster activity, such as the 
Laundry Branch, and the Subsistence Branch of 
the Storage and Distribution Division. Al- 
though responsibility for automotive equip- 
ment was transferred to the Ordnance Depart- 
ment in the summer of 1942, responsibility for 
the different kinds of mobile organizational 
equipment remained in the QMC and was cen- 
tralized by the following summer in the Re- 
search and Development Branch of the Military 
Planning Division, which thereafter undertook 
such modifications as field experience dictated. 

The one exception to this development was that 
responsibility for petroleum-handling equip- 
ment, despite the objections registered by the 
Director of the Military Planning Division, 
was vested in the newly created Fuels and 
Lubricants Division. 

Automotive Equipment 

Under Army regulations 31 the responsibility 
of the QMC in regard to the development of 
motor vehicles was limited to the general- 
purpose vehicles which were used for hauling 
cargo, ammunition, personnel, or equipment. 
Combat vehicles, such as tanks and armored 
cars, came under the jurisdiction of the Ord- 
nance Department/ 2 Quartermaster vehicles 
were further divided into two general classes. 
Administrative vehicles, closely paralleling nor- 
mal commercial products, were used for house- 
keeping purposes in the zone of interior. 
Tactical vehicles, distinguished from the admin- 
istrative type by always having the all-wheel 
drive — the most notable difference between 
military and commercial trucks — filled the re- 
quirements of the field forces for transporting 
supplies, personnel, and equipment under 
maneuver or combat conditions. 

Among the contributions of the QMC to the 
war effort, the development of the jeep 53 was 

' Address, Lt Col E. S. Van Deusen, MT Div 
OQMG, before Metropolitan Chapter, SAE, New York 
City, 19 Feb 42. 

51 AR 850-15, 29 Sep 39, sub: Mil Mtr Vehs. 

52 The QMC Motor Transport Service of 1918 be- 
came a separate Motor Transport Corps in the same 
year and was returned to the QMC in 1920. Here it 
remained until 1 August 1942 when all functions re- 
lating to both types of vehicles were consolidated under 
one organization by the transfer of the entire QMC 
Motor Transport Service to the Ordnance Department. 
WD Cir 245, Sec. IV, 25 Jul 42, sub: Transfer of Cer- 
tain MT Activities. 

33 For a detailed account see Herbert R. Rifkind, 
The Jeep— Its Development and Procurement Under 
the Quartermaster Corps, 1940-42 ( typescript copy on 
file, Hist Sec, OQMG). 



probably the most spectacular single accom- 
plishment. Officially known as the V^-ton 4x4 
truck, 54 it was developed primarily as a tactical 
vehicle, although its remarkable versatility 
made it useful for a host of administrative pur- 
poses. The project originated in the thirties, 
when a program for the replacement of obso- 
lete equipment and the complete motorization 
of the Army was begun. The QMC and other 
services and arms, particularly the Infantry, 
were aware of the need for a lightweight vehicle 
to replace the motorcycle for cross-country re- 
connaissance and messenger purposes. At the 
same time the Army was also aware of its need 
for a light weapons carrier to give quick and 
close support to attacking infantry. The Motor 
Transport Division, OQMG, carried on con- 
siderable experimentation with extra light 
models of the regular 1 V^-ton 4x4 cargo truck 
and later a V^-ton 4x4 was adopted as a stand- 
ard model. 55 The latter, however, did not fill the 
Infantry's requirement for a light car for recon- 
naissance purposes. 

In the summer of 1940 the Chief of Infantry 
emphasized the need for a vehicle that would 
have a maximum height of 36 inches and a 
weight of 750 to 1,000 pounds. This vehicle, 
possessing a low silhouette and four-wheel 
drive, was to have a cross-country and grade 
ability equal to that of standard cargo vehicles, 
an integral or detachable .30-caliber machine 
gun mount, and a capacity of at least two men, 
one machine gun including accessories, and 
3,000 rounds of ammunition. If feasible, and if 
the production of test vehicles would not be 
unduly delayed, the frame and body were to be 
designed with amphibious characteristics. 56 
Thus the concept of an amphibious comple- 
ment to the light reconnaissance car was born 
simultaneously with the land model idea. 

The Adjutant General forwarded this pro- 
posal for comment and recommendation to both 
The Quartermaster General and the Chief of 
Ordnance. The Quartermaster General sug- 

gested that the Holabird Quartermaster Depot, 
center of motor transport activities, be author- 
ized to investigate the light passenger car of the 
American Bantam Co. as a possible solution of 
the problem, a suggestion that was passed along 
to the Chief of Ordnance. 57 On 19 June 1940 a 
special subcommittee, appointed by the Chief 
of Ordnance, met with officials and engineers 
of the American Bantam Co. at their plant at 
Butler, Pa. It drew up and recommended for 
adoption a set of military characteristics for the 
vehicle. These limited the weight to a maxi- 
mum of 1,200 pounds, the wheel base to ap- 
proximately 75 inches, and the maximum 
height to 36 inches. It was also recommended 
that 70 of these cars be procured for service test- 
ing. Since the vehicle was a commercial wheeled 
type without armor and fell within the general 
purpose classification, the subcommittee also 
recommended that the QMC be charged with 
its development and procurement. 58 The Secre- 
tary of War approved the subcommittee's rec- 
ommendation and authorized the expenditure 
of not more than $175,000 of Quartermaster 
funds for the project. 59 

The Infantry and Cavalry were interested in a 
four-wheel-steer type of jeep, and eight of the 
seventy trucks procured for testing were pro- 
vided with this feature. These two arms wanted 
the four-wheel-steer feature because of the 
greater mobility and maneuverability that it 
gave to the jeep, but it was never standardized. 

,4 Official designation of Army trucks indicates the 
number of wheels and driving wheels. Thus a "4x4" 
means four wheels, all of which are driving wheels. 

55 QMCTC, min of mtg, 18 Nov 38. 

56 Ltr, Coflnf to TAG, 6Jun 40, sub: Light Veh 
Dev, 400.112. 

" ( 1) 2d ind, AGO to TQMG and CofOrd, 14 Jun 
40, on ltr cited in n. 56. (2) 3d ind, TQMG to CO 
Holabird QMD, 14 Jun 40, on same. (3) Ltr, TAG to 
CofOrd, 15 Jun 40, sub: Light Veh Dev. All in 400.112. 

58 Rpt, Subcom on Automotive Equip to Ord Com- 
mittee, Tech Staff, 22 Jun 40, sub: Dev of Light Inf 
and Cav Vehs, 400.112. 

59 4th ind, TAG to CofOrd and TQMG, 5 Jul 40, 
on rpt cited in n. 58. 



Viewing the problem from the standpoint of 
production and standardization, the Motor 
Transport Division opposed its adoption be- 
cause it would have used four instead of two of 
the critical bottleneck items so essential to the 
all-wheel drive and its standardization would 
have meant one more maintenance problem. 60 

On the basis of competitive bidding the 
QMC awarded the order for the first seventy 
jeeps to the American Bantam Co. on 25 July 
1940. 61 Earlier in the month a tentative speci- 
fication had been drafted at the Holabird Depot. 
Engineers of the company and the depot co- 
operated in ironing out engineering difficulties. 
During the construction of the first pilot model 
it became evident that it would be necessary to 
increase the weight of the truck, and substantial 
changes were made before the model passed the 
severe Holabird test. After testing under super- 
vision of the test boards of the using arms, the 
QMCTC co-ordinated their findings and recom- 
mended standardization of the jeep on 22 
January 194l. 6: 

The success of the jeep was instantaneous 
and sensational. So versatile did it prove that its 
uses multiplied in a fashion never even dreamed 
of by its creators. When news reports began to 
come in from theaters of operations all over the 
world, it was realized that the 14 -ton 4x4 truck 
had attained for itself and the QMC a reputa- 
tion equal in its way, perhaps, to that of the 
famous Flying Fortress of the Air Forces, or the 
General Sherman tank, the pride of the Ord- 
nance Department. Ernie Pyle, famous war cor- 
respondent, who characterized the jeep as "a 
divine instrument of wartime locomotion," 
eulogized it as follows: 

Good Lord, I don't think we could continue the 
war without the jeep. It does everything. It goes 
everywhere. It's as faithful as a dog, as strong as a 
mule, and as agile as a goat. It constantly carries 
twice what it was designed for, and still keeps on 
going. It doesn't even ride so badly after you get 
used to it. 63 

However spectacular the success of the jeep, 
it represented but one of many developmental 
projects undertaken by the QMC in the auto- 
motive field before August 1942. Other trucks 
developed included the amphibious jeep, nick- 
named the "waterbug," and the 2!^-ton 6x6 
truck, the basic cargo truck of the United States 
Army, which became known as "the workhorse 
of the Army" and enjoyed a success equal to 
that of the jeep. 64 

The development of motor vehicles for mili- 
tary purposes in World War II required a meet- 
ing of minds between the QMC, which set 
forth the specification for a given item, and the 
automobile industry, which translated it into 
an acceptable motor vehicle. Technically, the 
Army's functions in the development of any 
new vehicle ended with the preparation of mili- 
tary characteristics by the using arms and the 
writing of specifications by the QMC. The 
automotive engineers of private industry carried 
on from that point, designing, engineering, and 
building the pilot model in accordance with the 
stated specification. Collaboration and consulta- 
tion, however, on all aspects of each automotive 
development, including design and engineer- 
ing, had to take place between the QMC and 
industry if the undertaking was to be successful. 

The drafting of specifications was significant 
in relation to the development of a standard- 

60 For a discussion of the experimentation with the 
four-wheel-steer jeep see Rifkind, The Jeep, pp. 

61 (1) Current Procurement Br, OQMG, to ASW, 
10 Jul 40, sub: Procurement of Trucks, Light Recon 
and Comd Cars, 14 -ton, 4x4. (2) 1st ind, ASW to 
TQMG, 11 Jul 40, on same. (3) Ltr, Holabird QMD 
to TQMG, 24 Jul 40, sub: Invitation for Bids 
398-41-9. (4) 1st ind, OQMG to CO Holabird 
QMD, 25 Jul 40, on same. All in 451. 

62 QMCTC, min of mtg No. 1, 22 Jan 41. 

65 Ernie Pyle, The Washington Daily News, June 4, 

64 The design and development of the 2l/>-ton 6x6 
by the Motor Transport Division, OQMG, was essen- 
tially complete when it was taken over by the Ord- 
nance Department in August and standardized by it 
on 23 October 1942. OCM, item 19107, 23 Oct 42. 



ized fleet of motor vehicles, consisting of a 
minimum number of types and sizes, which was 
the objective of the Corps throughout the peri- 
od of its responsibility for motor transport. A 
specification, however, was no better than the 
procurement policy on which it was based, and 
Quartermaster specifications for motor vehicles 
were written to dovetail with the productive 
ability of the manufacturers. Under established 
procurement policy, 65 making mandatory the 
use of competitive bidding methods, the QMC 
had to draft motor vehicle specifications in such 
general terms as to enable several makers to 
meet them with vehicles of their own design. 
This procedure differed entirely from that gov- 
erning the detailed specifications provided for 
other Quartermaster items of supply. A specifi- 
cation for a service uniform, for example, could 
be prepared to a single design, which all cloth- 
ing manufacturers could produce without the 
necessity of making drastic changes in their op- 
erations or facilities. 

In general, it was not feasible for automotive 
concerns in peacetime to make identical vehi- 
cles, or for one plant to manufacture a truck in 
accordance with the design of another maker. 
The cost of the extensive retooling that would 
be required, considered in relation to the small 
amount of the normal peacetime contract, pre- 
cluded this. As a consequence, there was no 
peacetime alternative to the use of general 
specifications for motor vehicles, which meant 
that they could be met by the standard com- 
mercial chassis of any manufacture making a 
truck in the desired class. All of this was basi- 
cally incompatible with the whole concept of 
standardization which held that, in order to 
escape in future conflicts the rather disastrous 
maintenance experience of World War I, motor 
vehicles would have to be standardized into a 
few basic sizes and types, thus holding the spare 
parts supply system down to a minimum num- 
ber of spare parts and assemblies. 

Between World Wars I and II the QMC made 

strenuous efforts to achieve standardization, even 
to the extent of venturing into the manufacture 
of trucks of its own design at the Holabird 
Depot, a procedure forbidden by War Depart- 
ment directive after the fall of 1933- 66 Thereafter 
all vehicles purchased were commercial models 
with such modifications as would make them 
suitable for military use. A multiplicity of makes 
and models of trucks were purchased in the fol- 
lowing years, creating, in the event of war, an 
impossible maintenance problem. 

By 1939 military requirements in the general- 
purpose tactical category were limited to five 
chassis types, 67 which were expanded to nine 
during the war years. 68 Within the limits of 
existing War Department policies, procurement, 
law, and the decisions of the Comptroller Gen- 
eral, however, standardization could not be 
achieved. Only when Congress enacted legisla- 
tion in 1940 69 permitting exceptions to the 
mandatory use of competitive bidding methods 
could any real progress be made by the QMC 
in standardizing the motor fleet. It was then 
possible for the Corps to negotiate contracts 

65 The basic policy provided that the procurement 
of motor vehicles, other than combat vehicles, was to 
be limited to models produced commercially by two 
or more companies, "with the minimum deviation 
from standard commercial chassis necessary to con- 
form to approved military characteristics." AR 850-15, 
par. 3b, 29 Sep 39, sub: Mil Mtr Vehs. 

66 WD GO 9, Sec. I, 11 Sep 33, sub: Policies Per- 
taining to Mtr Vehs. 

67 These were the i/2-ton, 1^-ton, 21/2 -ton, 4-ton, 
and ly^-ton types. (1) See ltr, Brig Gen R. H.Jor- 
dan, OQMG, to TAG, 15 Jun 39, sub: Standardization 
of Mtr Vehs. (2) Ltr, TAG to TQMG, 12 Aug 39, 
same sub. 

68 The |4 -ton was introduced in 1940. The %-ton 
replaced the V^-ton while the 4-5-ton, 5-6-ton, and 
6-ton chassis were added to fill the gap between the 4- 
and 7V2 _ton groups. 

69 ( 1 ) On 2 July Congress authorized war contract- 
ing "with or without advertising." PL 703, Sec. 1 (a). 
(2) The Secretary of War immediately issued a direc- 
tive permitting awards to be made without formal 
competitive bidding whenever such methods "will 
serve to expedite the accomplishment of the defense • 
program." Ltr, SW to Chiefs of Sup Arms and Svs, 

2 Jul 40, sub: Procurement Without Advertising. 



which achieved a greater degree of standardiza- 
tion by restricting purchase of truck models to 
those of the one commercial manufacturer in 
each weight classification whose product most 
closely approached military requirements, or by 
requiring vehicles to be assembled by the auto- 
mobile industry from the standard commercial 
units and assemblies that came closest to meet- 
ing military needs. Thus, in the heavier field, it 
was planned to have the 6-ton prime mover 
made of standard major units by the White, 
Federal, and Autocar companies. For the medi- 
um types, Chevrolet and Yellow Truck and 
Coach, both divisions of General Motors, were 
first selected to make exclusively their 1 Vi-ton 
and 2 Vi -ton trucks, respectively. In the lighter 
field, the outstanding example of identical con- 
struction was the jeep, which ultimately was to 
be made by both Ford and Willys from the 
designs and blueprints of the Willys model. 
When the exigencies of World War II com- 
pelled procurement by negotiation, a greater 
degree of standardization resulted. 

Petroleum Products 

Equally important in World War II was the 
standardization and simplification of the differ- 
ent kinds of petroleum products used in main- 
taining and operating automotive equipment. 
The many kinds of fuels and lubricants required 
by Army vehicles created an acute problem of 
supply for the QMC. Under combat conditions, 
however, only a minimum number of grades of 
fuel could be supplied by tank cars, tank trucks, 
portable pipelines, and cans. In industrial life a 
special lubricant could be designed to give the 
best possible performance in each given type of 
bearing. What the Army needed, however, were 
fuels and lubricants which would be as universal 
as possible in application. 

At the beginning of 1941 a number of official 
and quasi-official organizations, such as the 
supply services of the Army, the Navy Depart- 

ment, the Federal Specifications Board, and serv- 
ice advisory committees from industry, were all 
concerned in setting specifications for fuels and 
lubricants. Both the QMC and the Ordnance 
Department recommended the creation of a 
committee which would supervise the prepara- 
tion of specifications for the whole field. 70 As a 
result, on 24 April 1941 the War Department 
Committee on Liquid Fuels and Lubricants was 
established 71 and emerged as the co-ordinating 
and expediting committee on specifications dur- 
ing World War II. 

At the same time that The Quartermaster 
General was recommending co-ordinated action 
on specifications, he was also urging the stand- 
ardization of specifications, reducing the number 
of grades to one for gasoline and one for diesel 
fuel. The Chief of Ordnance was in entire agree- 
ment with these proposals, and the Ordnance 
Department took an active part in the initial 
standardization of Army specifications. 72 

When this standardization program began, 
three types of gasoline were used for combat 
and motor transport vehicles. The Ordnance 
Department, assisted by the Coordinating Re- 
search Council and test data obtained from thea- 
ters of operations, Army installations, and in- 
dustrial organizations, developed a specification 
for an all-purpose gasoline designed to meet the 
year-round combat requirements of all vehicles 
of the ground forces from ^-ton trucks to 
tanks. This new specification for 80-octane gaso- 
line, issued 3 November 1943, eliminated the 
necessity of differentiating between summer 
and winter grades by providing an all-purpose 
gasoline which assured maximum operating 

70 ( 1 ) Ltr, CofOrd to USW, 14 Feb 41, sub: For- 
mation of Committees on Liquid F&L. (2) Ltr, TQMG 
to TAG, 2 5 Feb 41, sub: Liquid Fuels. Both in 463. 

71 For a fuller discussion of the work of this com- 
mittee see Erna Risch, Fuels for Global Conflict QMC 
Historical Studies 9, rev ed (Washington, 1952), pp. 

72 (1) Ltr, TQMG to TAG, 25 Feb 41, sub: Liquid 
Fuels. (2) Memo, CofOrd for ACofS G-4, 28 Mar 41, 
same sub. Both in 463. 



efficiency regardless of temperatures, except in 
extreme arctic conditions where a special arctic 
grade was used. With the centralization of pe- 
troleum procurement and distribution in the 
Fuels and Lubricants Division, OQMG, 1 June 
1943, 73 that division accomplished the final 
work of co-ordination on the 80-octane gasoline 
specification by insuring its use by all the serv- 
ices, by arranging for the Petroleum Adminis- 
tration for War to assure its supply, and by pro- 
moting co-ordination with the British. 

In a similar manner the two types and seven 
grades of gear lubricants utilized before the war 
were reduced to one type and three grades. In 
line with the trend in gasoline it seemed advis- 
able to have an all-purpose diesel fuel, an ob- 
jective that was accomplished largely under the 
direction of the Fuels and Lubricants Division, 
OQMG. 74 

Petroleum-Handling Equipment 

Since complete responsibility for the develop- 
ment of equipment especially designed for 
handling petroleum products was not central- 
ized in the Fuels and Lubricants Division until 
the spring of 1944, the original developmental 
work on many such items was accomplished in 
other supply services, such as the Ordnance De- 
partment, the Transportation Corps, and the 
Corps of Engineers. For example, the 100-gal- 
lon-per-minute portable gasoline dispenser was 
approved and standardized on 23 December 
1943 by action of the Ordnance Technical Com- 
mittee. 75 On the other hand, developmental 
work on "Mareng" cells, or collapsible contain- 
ers made of canvas impregnated with synthetic 
rubber, was initiated in 1942 by the Transporta- 
tion Corps. Subsequently responsibility for de- 
velopment was vested in the Corps of Engineers. 
It carried development of four types to the 
point of standardization before responsibility 
was transferred to the QMC. 76 As a result of 
conferences, it was later decided that the Corps 

of Engineers should continue developmental 
work and testing in this field upon specific di- 
rective from the Fuels and Lubricants Divi- 


After responsibility for the development of 
petroleum-handling equipment had been cen- 
tralized in the Fuels and Lubricants Division, a 
number of refinements in such equipment were 
undertaken. The division also developed new 
items, such as the portable can cleaner, and the 
2,500-gallon tank truck and 2,500-gallon trailer, 
which increased the facility of handling petro- 
leum products in the field. 

One item, the popular 5-gallon "blitz" can, 
was developed by the QMC long before central- 
ization of responsibility for petroleum-handling 
equipment had been achieved. Made of 20- 
gauge steel, the blitz can was equipped with 
carrying handles. It was-designed primarily as 
an item of issue for fuel-consuming vehicles and 
gasoline companies. However, it had a wider 
use than this implies. Not only was the blitz 
can used as a distribution medium for motor 
fuel between railhead or fuel dump and the 
combat zone, but it was also the primary basis 
of initial and continued supply to beachheads 
until port facilities permitted the use of tankers 
and pipelines. 

The blitz can was an adaptation to American 
usage of the 5-gallon German can, or "Jerry 
Can," a sample of which was brought to the 
OQMG in the summer of 1940. The Motor 

73 (1) ASF Cir 33, 26 May 43, sub: Procurement, 
Storage and Distr of Petri Products, Fuels (Liquid and 
Solid) and Lubricants. (2) OQMG OO 25-37, 29 
May 43, sub: Establishment of F&L Div. 

74 Risch, Fuels for Global Conflict, p 81. 

75 Memo, OCO for CG, 23 Dec 43, sub: Pump, 
Gasoline, Dispensing, 100 GPM— Standardization 

76 AGO Memo W 850-15-43, 10 Apr 43, sub: 
Asgmt of Responsibility for Handling Liquid Fuel 

77 Ltr, Brig Gen W. E. R. Covell to CG ASF, 23 
Aug 43, sub: Responsibility for Development and 
Procurement of Collapsible Liquid Fuel Units. 

FILLING BLITZ CANS FROM RAILROAD TANK CAR by use of portable gasoline pump. 



Transport Division instructed the Holabird 
Quartermaster Motor Base to prepare specifica- 
tions for a 5-gallon galvanized can following 
generally the pattern of those captured from the 
Germans in Europe. 78 In order to use the as- 
sembly-line technique and mass production, the 
QMC constructed the blitz can in three pieces 
instead of the two used by the Germans, who 
welded the parts together and assembled them 
by hand. Other changes were made including 
the use of an American type of closure, which 
would take a flexible nozzle essential to servic- 
ing vehicles, and automatic venting, which per- 
mitted complete discharge of contents in a min- 
imum of time. 79 Procurement was initiated in 
the fall of 1940. Although a number of refine- 
ments were later developed by the Fuels and 
Lubricants Division, the blitz can used during 
World War II was essentially the same as the 
model developed by the Motor Transport Divi- 
sion in 1940. 

Field Range 

A portable, gasoline-burning field range was 
one of the more important items of develop- 
ment among those used in the storage, handling, 
and preparation of food. Wood-burning field 
ranges No. 1 and No. 2, as well as so-called roll- 
ing kitchens consisting of horse-drawn ranges 
and accessories, were developed and used in the 
field during World War I. These ranges were 
limited as to the variety and desirability of the 
food prepared on them, and the smoke they 
emitted enabled the enemy to determine the 
location of Army units. 80 This equipment con- 
tinued to be used in the years following, and, in 
fact, field ranges No. 1 and No. 2 were pro- 
cured even in the early period of World War II 
but only because equipment recognized as 
superior could not be supplied in quantities 
sufficient to fill the demand at that time. 

The need for a portable, gasoline-burning 
field range was recognized, and the Jefferson- 

ville Quartermaster Depot began developmental 
work in 1932. By 1937 it submitted a specifica- 
tion to the Standardization Branch, OQMG. In 
its original form the M-1937 field range con- 
sisted of one or more self-contained cabinets, 
constructed of aluminum and stainless steel, 
each of which contained a roast or bake pan 
with griddle cover and a steel cradle for support- 
ing a large boiler and a fire unit. It was designed 
to be transportable on a 2V^-ton truck and 
could be operated while in transit. The newly 
designed range underwent extensive field tests 
which resulted in numerous alterations in the 
original design. 81 In May 1939 it was classified 
as a standard item of issue, 82 not because these 
tests had demonstrated that it worked with 
maximum efficiency but to permit immediate 
procurement. Many problems, from the use of 
leaded gasoline to the design of proper utensils 
for an efficient field range, remained to be 

Since the M-1937 range was developed in 
peacetime, it was designed of materials— chiefly 
aluminum and stainless steel— judged best for 
the purpose rather than of those most readily 
obtainable in a period of scarcity. As war became 
imminent, the necessity to conserve raw mate- 
rials forced the redesign of the field range and 
the use of substitute materials. 83 Inasmuch as 
these changes increased its weight from 138 to 
178 pounds and numerous minor breakdowns of 
parts were reported, it was with considerable 

78 Rpt, Lt Heller to Lt Col H. B. Hester and Col 
Doriot, OQMG, 27 Oct 41, sub: History of the Gas 
and Water Can Procurement Program. 

79 Risch, Fuels for Global Conflict, pp. 90-91. 

80 Maj O. E. Cound, "The Army's New Field 
Range,'' QMR, XIX (September-October 1939), 10. 

81 (1) Memo draft, Brig Gen A. B. Warfield, 
OQMG, to Coflnf, 23 Feb 39, sub: Tests for Improve- 
ment of QM Portable Fid Range. (2) Capt Cound to 
TQMG, 20 Mar 39, sub: Outline of Changes to be 
Made in 17 Units of QM Portable Gasoline Fid Range, 

82 2d ind, TAG to TQMG, 16 May 39, on ltr, Col 
Hardigg, OQMG, to TAG, 10 May 39, no sub. 

83 See above, Ch. II. 



FIELD RANGE M-1937, set up in the box of a two and one-half ton truck near Haller, Luxembourg, 
January 1945. 

relief that the Mechanical Section of the Re- 
search and Development Branch returned to the 
use of aluminum and stainless steel when the 
metal situation improved in the late summer of 

The fire unit of the field range provided the 
most troublesome problem in design, and under- 
went considerable modification during the war. 
As a gasoline-burning unit, it used either white 
or leaded gasoline. Its design was simple, but 
maintenance proved extremely difficult, as a 
direct result of the type of gasoline used. While 
the use of white gasoline created no particular 
problems, the gasoline most readily available in 

the field was motor fuel, a high-test leaded 
gasoline. The use of this fuel posed two prob- 
lems. The toxicity of burner fumes created a 
hazard to health. The lead in the gasoline, de- 
posited in tubes, valves, and burner slots, 
clogged the burner parts, creating maintenance 

In order to remove the lead the original fire 
unit used an asbestos disc about three inches in 
diameter and one eighth of an inch thick. It was 
located in a special case at the mid point of the 
generator tube and all vaporized gasoline had 
to pass through this filter. It removed about 60 
to 70 percent of the lead in the gasoline, but 




GASOLINE COOKING STOVES M-1941 (left) and M- 1942 (right). 

this type of filter had to be replaced after two to 
six hours of operation. In actual practice filter 
changing appears to have been required after 
the preparation of almost every meal. One re- 
port from the field stated that, even after the 
leaded gasoline had been filtered through five or 
six gas mask canisters, "it was still necessary to 
tear the range down at least three times per day 
in order to have it work at all." 84 Frequently 
the lead not stopped by the filter clogged other 
parts of the fire unit. 

Before the North African campaign, experi- 
ence with the fire unit had been limited to 
maneuvers in which operating personnel had 
usually obtained white gasoline by one means 
or another. In North Africa, when only leaded 
gasoline was available, no one was prepared to 
meet the maintenance problem because of in- 
experience as well as lack of parts for the range. 

The fire units therefore failed to give adequate 

Even before the North African campaign 
demonstrated the acute need for improving the 
maintenance characteristics of the fire unit, the 
Research and Development Branch instituted a 
program to solve the problem of lead removal 
and to simplify and redesign the burner. It asked 
the Ethyl Corporation, the American Gas Ma- 
chine Co., and the Coleman Lamp & Stove Co. 
to pool their engineering knowledge for this 
purpose. 85 

The net result was the adoption of a tube 

84 Capt Pounder, Rpt of QM Opns in NATO, 5 
Mar-2 Jun 43. 

85 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Ethyl Corp, 19 
Sep 42, no sub. (2) Ltr, Doriot to CG JQMD, 30 Sep 
42, sub: Research Work on Fire Unit. (3) See R&D 
Br, Status Rpts, 31 Aug 42-31 Mar 43, under heading: 
Deleading of Gasoline for Fid Range. 



packed with steel wool as a filter generator. The 
new generator could be operated for 200 to 300 
hours before requiring renewal, and it increased 
the amount of lead removed up to 95 percent or 
more, thereby reducing maintenance consider- 
ably. 86 The design of the fire unit was modified 
to incorporate the changes necessitated by the 
use of the new filter. At the same time the 
design of the flame valve was altered to make it 
self-cleaning. This improvement, together with 
the more satisfactory filter, reduced flame valve 
cleaning from once in 4 to 8 hours to once in 50 
to 100 hours. These improvements were im- 
mediately made applicable to new procurements 
of the field range. A conversion kit was designed 
and procured to convert equipment, especially 
that already in use in the field, where the prob- 
lem was most acute. The new generator, an 
adequate supply of spare parts, and the cumula- 
tive effects of an educational program on repair 
caused the field range and fire unit thereafter to 
be considered entirely acceptable. 

Small Stoves 

Centralized messing facilities were not always 
available to soldiers in World War II. Circum- 
stances frequently called for wide dispersal of 
units. The possibility of operations in cold- 
climate areas first raised the problem of provid- 
ing cooking and heating facilities for the indi- 
vidual soldier or for small groups. In the 
summer of 1941 the QMC attacked the problem 
in behalf of mountain and ski troops. The 
Primus stove, a light, compact stove burning 
liquid fuel, had been used by arctic explorers 
and mountaineers for many years, but a one- 
burner gasoline stove that would satisfy military 
requirements was not available on the com- 
mercial market. Stoves used by campers were 
too heavy and operated only on white gasoline. 

At the request of the QMC the Coleman 
Lamp and Stove Co. in the summer of 1941 

designed a functionally satisfactory stove which 
was known as the cold-climate stove. 8 ^ Essen- 
tially it was the same stove subsequently called 
the M-1941, a one-burner gasoline stove. This 
stove, compact in size and rugged in construc- 
tion, weighed thirty-seven ounces and would 
burn over two hours on either white or leaded 
gasoline. The burner was designed to light in- 
stantaneously without priming, even at low 
temperature. Pending the outcome of tests, the 
stove was classified as a limited procurement 
type. 88 

In the meantime desire for an even more com- 
pact and a lighter stove led the QMC to call a 
conference of eight of the leading gasoline stove 
manufacturers at Chicago on 9 February 1942. 
They were invited to produce a new single- 
burner unit for use in mountain operations and 
also to incorporate two of the burners in a larger 
stove to serve vehicle crews. The ensuing de- 
velopmental work resulted in the design of a 
new stove called the M-1942 model. By test in 
the Bureau of Standards the M-1941 and 
M-1942 stoves were considered practically 
identical on the basis of heating, fuel consump- 
tion, and general efficiency. The M-1942 gaso- 
line stove, however, weighed less than half the 
earlier one (17 ounces as against 37 ounces), 
was more compact, and required only half as 
much material in its manufacture. It was also 
believed to have better igniting characteristics 
at low temperatures. The stove had tripod fold- 
ing legs and tripod folding brackets on top of 
the burner. When folded the whole stove could 
be carried within a straight-sided pot seven 

86 ( 1 ) Rpt, Carl H. Rasmussen, Mechanical Sec, 
R&D Br, Unit Fire, Range Fid, M-1937, 15 Nov 45. 
(2) 3d ind, Col Doriot to Hq SOS, 5 Dec 42, on Itr, 
Hq 72d Fid Artillery Brigade to CG AGF, 16 Nov 42, 
sub: Rpt on Use of Fid Ranges. 

87 (1) Ltr, Col Robinson to JQMD, 5 Jun 41, no 
sub. (2) Ltr, same to Lt Col H. M. Schofield, WDGS, 
14 Jun 41, no sub. (3) QMC Spec JQD 33, 10 Oct 42, 
sub: Cold-Climate Stove. 

88 QMCTC, min of mtg No. 6, 8 Jul 42. 



inches in diameter and four inches deep. 89 In the 
fall of 1942 the new model was standardized 
while the M-1941 stove was reclassified as 
substitute standard. 90 

Where weight and bulk were primary factors 
to be considered as in the case of equipment 
used by ski troops, mountain forces, and special 
task forces, the M-1942, one-burner gasoline 
stove was considered the best small stove. In 
all other cases, particularly when the stove 
would be used by mechanized forces, the 
M-1941 model could be utilized to good ad- 
vantage. Although the later model, which was 
subsequently somewhat modified, had been 
intended to replace the M-1941 stove, produc- 
tion difficulties made it necessary to procure 
both till the end of the war. 

The one-burner gasoline stove proved to be 
one of the most popular items of equipment 
developed by the QMC. Ernie Pyle wrote: 

One of the most practical pieces of equipment 
our Army has got around to is the little Coleman 
stove for cooking. . . . 

Almost every group of front-line soldiers has one 
now. They heat their C-rations in it, make coffee 
several times a day, heat water for shaving, and if 
they're in an enclosed place such as a dugout they 
even use it for warmth. 

You have no idea what a big thing some practical 
little device like a successful stove is in the life of a 
man at the front. 91 

The 1942 stove as combined with a mountain 
cookset and issued as a one-burner cooking out- 
fit would serve about five men. The mountain 
cookset consisted of two aluminum pots, nest- 
ing into each other, with a stainless steel cover 
which also served as a frying pan. When not in 
use the stove fitted within the pots, and a steel 
wire handle on the cover folded out of the way 
and locked all units together securely. 92 

Other cooking outfits for small groups of 
men operating away from organizational mess 
facilities were developed by the QMC. Among 
these was the 20-man cooking outfit, initially 
"developed under the auspices of Major 

Clements of the Storage and Distribution Divi- 
sion" 93 and later taken over and modified by the 
Special Forces Section of the Research and De- 
velopment Branch. Designed to be used particu- 
larly by antiaircraft and searchlight detachments, 
it was recommended for standardization by the 
QMCTC on 15 September 1942. The outfit con- 
sisted of two gasoline stoves of the two-burner 
type; two metal cases, one for each stove, which 
could be used as a cooking vessel and a frying 
pan; a set of nested cooking vessels including 
two coffee pots; and miscellaneous utensils, 
such as can openers, paring knives, and a ladle. 
The complete outfit weighed about fifty pounds 
and was packed in a canvas carrying bag. 

This 20-man cooking outfit was criticized in 
test reports because food, unless closely watched 
by the cook, burned easily. An intensely hot, 
localized flame was furnished by the burners, 
which were the same as those used in the 
M-1941 one-burner stoves. In addition, the fre- 
quent clogging of generators posed a main- 
tenance problem. Within a year a considerable 
number of modifications had been made to 
overcome these difficulties as well as to redesign 
the components of the outfit. 94 

Because of the inadequacy of the 20-man 
cooking outfit, a project had been initiated 

89 Special Forces Sec, Mil Ping Div, to Mil Intel Div, 
OQMG, 10 Oct 42, sub: One-Burner Gasoline Stove, 
M-1942, 414.2. 

90 (1) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 9, 15 Sep 42. (2) 
By an oversight the reclassification of the M-1941 
stove was not accomplished until the summer of 1943. 
Ltr, Col Cowles, OQMG, to CG ASF, 1 1 Jun 43, sub: 
One-Burner Gasoline Stove, M-1941, and One-Burner 
Cooking Outfit, and 2d ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 21 
Jun 43, on same, 414.2. 

91 Ernie Pyle, "Krauts and Tedeschi," The Washington 
Daily News, May 1, 1944. 

92 R&D Project Register, Case Record on the Moun- 
tain Cookset, 10 June-26 Oct 42. 

95 ( 1 ) Col Robinson to Capt McLean, Mil Ping Div, 
OQMG, 18 Dec 42, no sub. (2) QMCTC, min of 
mtg No. 9, 15 Sep 42. 

94 (1) [2d ind], AAABd to CG AACmd, 28 May 
43. (2) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to CG AGF, 25 Sep 
43, sub: 20- Man Cooking Outfit. Both in 414.2. 



about March 1943 to develop a more satisfactory 
item. In the months following a considerable 
amount of research was accomplished, resulting 
in the development of the small detachment 
cooking outfit to provide hot meals for 20 to 30 
men. Standardized at first on a basis of limited 
procurement, the new outfit proved superior in 
tests to the 20-man cooking unit. As a conse- 
quence in the summer of 1944 the QMCTC 
recommended its standardization and the re- 
classification of the 20-man cooking outfit as 
substitute standard. 95 

This small detachment cooking outfit weighed 
80 pounds but was so constructed that it could 
be packed in two equal parts, which could be 
carried on pack boards by two men. When set 
up for cooking, the stove was a rectangular box 
measuring 18 by 24 by 12 inches in size, with a 
sectional stovepipe about 6 feet long. This stove 
was operated by a flow of liquid fuel from a 5- 
gallon gasoline can. Components of the outfit 
included aluminum cookpots of assorted sizes, 
stainless steel frying pans, a sterilizing pan for 
mess gear, and various other small accessories. 
For packing purposes, the cooking utensils fit- 
ted together in the upper half of the stove, 
while the stovepipe— telescoped into one short 
length— and the burner were packed in the 
lower half. 

Field Bakeries 

When World War II began the Army was 
using the same kind of field bakery equipment 
utilized without change for twenty-three years. 
The regular item of issue to bakery companies 
was the Army field baking oven No. 1, which 
required that all mixing, moulding, and divid- 
ing of dough be done by hand. It was a port- 
able, knock-down piece of equipment, designed 
to be assembled in the field. Since its gross 
weight was 3,714 pounds when assembled, and 
since it included eighteen separate pieces when 
packed for shipment, the field baking oven was 

obviously not well designed for use under diffi- 
cult field conditions. 

The QMC was aware of the need for improv- 
ing field bakery equipment. As early as 1931 the 
Motor Transport Board at Holabird was in- 
structed to study the problem of mobility in 
connection with such equipment. 96 For the next 
ten years this problem was studied in a leisurely 
fashion by the Corps. Not until 1940, however, 
when the need had become urgent, was the Jef- 
fersonville Depot instructed to develop a field 
bake oven and a mixer designed to use gasoline 
as fuel. 97 

By June 1941 the depot had developed equip- 
ment which was ready for preliminary inspec- 
tion. Informal tests revealed that further devel- 
opmental work was required, and it was sug- 
gested that qualified engineers from the best 
manufacturing companies of bakery equipment 
be consulted. With the co-operation of indus- 
try, working models were constructed. Among 
the various models tested at Fort Meade, Md., 
early in 1942, the oven constructed by the Cen- 
tury Machine Co. of Cincinnati was deemed 
best by the Subsistence Branch, OQMG, which 
opposed further experimentation as fruitless. In 
consequence it directed the Jeffersonville Depot 
to make "no purchases of Field Bake Ovens 
other than that developed by the Century Ma- 
chine Company" until further notice. 98 In the 
summer of 1942 the field bake oven, M-1942, 
was standardized and used by the services as 

95 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 26 Oct 
43, sub: Small Detachment Cooking Outfit. (2) Rpt, 
Same to same, 17 Aug 44, same sub. (3) QMCTC, 
min of mtg No. 16, 22 Aug 44. (4) This action was 
approved by Hq ASF, 8 Sept 44. 2d ind, Hq ASF to 
TQMG, 8 Sep 44, on ltr, Col Doriot to CG ASF, 28 
Aug 44, same sub, 414.2. 

96 Ltr, Lt Col B. Taylor, OQMG, to CO Holabird 
QMD, 1 Apr 31, sub: Mobile Bakeries, 414.2. 

97 Ltr, Gen Corbin, OQMG, to CO JQMD, 3 Aug 
40, sub: Development of Fid Bakery. 

98 Ltr, Gen Hardigg, Chief of Subs Br, OQMG, to 
CG, JQMD, 14 Apr 42, sub: Portable Fid Bakery 




standard field equipment throughout World 
War II." 

Although the field bake oven, M-1942, was 
developed by the Subsistence Branch, OQMG, 
and the Jeffersonville Depot in co-operation 
with industry, responsibility for subsequent 
modifications of it and the development of a 
mobile bakery was vested in the Research and 
Development Branch by the end of 1942. De- 
spite the reluctance of the Subsistence Branch 
to admit the need for additional research, the 
Mechanical Section of the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch began further developmental 
work on ovens and made a number of modifica- 
tions to improve the operations of the M-1942 
model. 100 

The M-1942 oven was definitely an improve- 

ment over the old equipment. It was a two-sec- 
tion oven. Each section weighed about 550 
pounds and was equipped with bars so that it 
could be lifted and carried by four men. The 
upper section consisted of two separate baking 
decks, while the lower contained the burners 
and a built-in proofing chamber. Later pot-type 
gasoline burners were substituted for the two 

99 (1) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Chief of Dev Br, 
Reqmts Div, SOS, 5 Aug 42, sub: Fid Baking Outfit. 
(2) 2d ind, Hq SOS to TQMG, 26 Aug 42, on same. 
Both in 414.2. 

100 ( 1 ) Rpt, Mil Ping Div, Summary of Rpt on 
New Fid Bake Ovens, 4 Jan 43. (2) Chief of Subs Br 
to Dir of S&D Div, OQMG, 28 Jan 43, sub: Com- 
ments on Rpt of Development of Fid Bake Oven, 
M-1942. (3) Insp Div to TQMG, 1 Feb 43, sub: 
Insp-JQMD & Cincinnati, Ohio, 6-10 Dec 42. 




M-1937 fire units originally used. Hand mixing 
of dough was eliminated by the use of a dough- 
mixing machine powered by a gasoline engine. 
While the M-1942 oven was portable in com- 
parison with the Army field baking oven No. 1, 
it was in no sense mobile, and it operated 
mechanically only in respect to the mixer. Man- 
ual handling of the dough — which was not con- 
ducive to cleanliness— was still necessary to pre- 
pare, divide, weigh, mould, and set the dough 
in pans. 

When the M-1942 baking outfit began to 
operate in the field, defects in the equipment 
became apparent and criticisms were directed to 
the OQMG from theaters of operations. The 
routine of assembling the equipment manually 
to begin baking bread and dismantling it to 

evacuate a location was time consuming. When 
marching orders were received a Quartermaster 
truck company had to furnish forty-five trucks 
to move the equipment of an American baking 
company. 101 The M-1942 field bakery lacked 
the mobility demanded by modern war. In ad- 
dition, the equipment itself was criticized. The 
proofing chamber was not used because it was 
too hot in summer and too cold in winter; in- 
stead, in the field, proofing racks were impro- 
vised by Quartermaster bakers. The gasoline 
engine for the mixer failed to operate satisfac- 
torily over an extended period, since it was ap- 
parently too small for the mixer. Maintenance 

101 A Quartermaster bakery company was equipped 
with 32 ovens, 16 dough mixers, 64 insulated fermen- 
tation cans, and complementary equipment. 

ARMY FIELD BAKE OVEN No. 1 in operation at New Caledonia, April 1942. 



was difficult and replacement parts were not 
readily available. 102 

Generally, "so called mobile equipment" was 
considered by one Quartermaster observer to be 
"too large and too complicated." "Movable" 
rather than "mobile" was the term applicable to 
it. In particular, he found British bakeries more 
efficient than American. "The British bakery 
can be moved in much shorter time than ours 
can. It takes fewer personnel to operate it and 
it produces the same amount of bread." 103 All 
reports from the ETO supported this view. 
Many American bakery units in the ETO made 
use of the British mobile bakery, all of the 
major items of which were mounted on two- 
wheel, high-platform trailers. 

Through the ingenuity of the American sol- 
dier fresh bread was being delivered to the 
troops, but the cost in time, morale of using 
troops, efficiency, transportation, maintenance, 
and spare-parts supply problems made it appar- 
ent that major improvements would have to be 
effected. Early in 1944 the Research and Devel- 
opment Branch requested permission of Head- 
quarters, ASF, to develop a field bakery unit 
with mobility "equal to that of a 2 1 /2-ton 
truck." 104 This mobile equipment was to have 
adequate productive capacity for supplying large 
concentrations of personnel. The M-1942 port- 
able bakery equipment would continue to be 
issued to supply small bodies of troops prima- 
rily in the Pacific areas where such groups were 
isolated and the use of mobile equipment, cap- 
able of producing for large numbers, was not 

The M-1942 equipment was to be modified, 
however, to meet the criticisms that had been 
made. Leading industrial firms co-operated with 
the Jeffersonville Depot and the Mechanical 
Section, OQMG, to improve the oven, mixer, 
and gasoline engine. Mixers having larger bowl 
capacity were designed, and a new engine, capa- 
ble of standing constant hard use for longer 
periods, was substituted for the original model. 

Work on an improved oven, lighter in weight 
than the M-1942 model but rugged in construc- 
tion, continued for many months. It remained 
uncompleted when the war ended. 105 

In the meantime developmental work on a 
truly mobile bakery unit had been started in 
1944 106 The design of the mobile bakery was 
undertaken only after a thorough study of field 
bakery operations and of the deficiencies and ad- 
vantages of both the British mobile bakery and 
the M-1942 bakery. The Research and Develop- 
ment Branch consulted the best engineering 
talent of the country, and over fifteen com- 
panies participated in the development of the 
mobile bakery unit. 

Components of the bakery unit consisted of 
one machinery trailer carrying mixing and 
make-up machinery, two oven trailers, and two 
generator trailers. Auxiliary equipment, such as 
dough troughs, racks, conveyors, scales, and 
tentage, was also included. This equipment was 
factory tested at the respective manufacturing 
plants and then assembled in complete units at 
the Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot, where 
necessary engineering changes were effected as 
a result of further preliminary tests. Early in the 
summer of 1945 extensive baking tests were un- 
dertaken at Fort Knox, Ky. 

World War II ended before the mobile bak- 
ery unit could be put into combat service, but 
the tests had demonstrated its superiority to the 

102 (1) Abstract, 1st Lt Owen N. Tucker, Rpt of 
Investigation of Am Fid Bakery Equip in NATO, 30 
Aug 43. (2) Rpt, Maj Burnhome, European- North 
African -Persian Areas, Nov 1943. (3) Asst for Product 
Analysis to Mechanical Sec, R&D Br, OQMG, 26 Aug 
43, sub: Fid Bake Oven. 

103 Rpt, Maj Burnhome, European- North African- 
Persian Areas, Nov 1943. 

104 Ltr, Col Doriot to Hq ASF, 28 Jan 44, sub: Mo- 
bile Fid Bakery. 

io5 (1) R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Aug 44-31 Aug 
45, under heading Portable Fid Bakery, M-1944. (2) 
R&D Br to General Supplies Br, S&D Div, OQMG, 
23 Mar 45, sub: Fid Bakery Equip. 

106 See R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Jan 44-31 Aug 45, 
under heading, Bakery, Fid, Mobile. 



old equipment in conservation of manpower, in 
productive capacity, and in mobility. Limited 
procurement was requested by the QMC and 
initiated as the war was ending in order to pro- 
vide equipment for training and to obtain field 
experience on production models. The new mo- 
bile bakery unit was intended for use wherever 
requirements had to be met for 5,500 or more 
pounds of bread per day. Where less than that 
amount was required, the M-1942 bakery was 
to be used. The mobile bakery unit, M-1945, 
was standardized in the fall of 1945. 107 

Responsibility for Refrigeration Equipment 

The development of mechanical equipment 
to handle the storage of perishable food was an 
essential part of the task of feeding the Army. 
Unfortunately, uncertainty over the question of 
responsibility for developmental work on re- 
frigeration equipment prevailed throughout the 
war, inevitably hindering work in this field. 
Prior to World War II responsibility for the de- 
velopment of all military refrigeration had been 
vested in the QMC. When Congress by legisla- 
tive action on 1 December 1941 transferred con- 
struction, real estate activities, and repairs and 
utilities from the QMC to the Corps of Engi- 
neers, responsibility for refrigeration equipment 
was included. War Department implementation 
of the law, however, left unclarified for three 
months whether a complete transfer or a divi- 
sion of responsibilities had been directed insofar 
as the development of refrigeration equipment 
was concerned. By March 1942 the Chief of 
Engineers had been directed to assume respon- 
sibility for such developmental work. An excep- 
tion to this transfer was the developmental 
work on refrigerated semitrailers, the respon- 
sibility for which remained in the Motor Trans- 
port Division, OQMG. 108 

In the summer of 1943, however, at the re- 
quest of the Chief of Engineers the problem 
was taken up by the Procurement Assignment 

Board, ASF, which reassigned to the Corps the 
responsibility for preparing specifications and 
procuring mechanical and ice-cooled refrigera- 
tors, including frozen-food storage units to be 
used in new facilities or in portable or mobile 
equipment. 109 Refrigerators for marine and rail 
use and for aircraft were excluded. In the 
OQMG the function of developing refrigera- 
tion equipment was centralized in the Military 
Planning Division. 110 

The division of responsibilities, however, be- 
tween the Engineer Corps and the OQMG for 
each major type of refrigeration equipment had 
not been entirely and satisfactorily clarified. Re- 
peated conferences between the two services 
solved these difficulties, and in April 1944 a 
new War Department circular spelled out in de- 
tail the assignment of responsibilities. In gen- 
eral, the Corps of Engineers was responsible for 
larger refrigeration equipment for fixed installa- 
tions, such as permanent ice-making plants, 
while the QMC was responsible for small 

107 (1) Ltr, Gen Doriot, OQMG, to CG ASF, 6 
Aug 45, sub: Procurement of US Mobile Bakeries. (2) 
Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 21 Aug 45, sub: 
Mobile Bakery Unit, M-1945. (3) QMCTC, min of 
mtg No. 19, 11 Sep 45. (4) Ltr, Gen Doriot to CG 
ASF, 17 Sep 45, same sub, and 1st ind, Hq ASF to 
TQMG, 8 Nov 45. All in 414.2. 

108 (1) WD Cir 248, 4 Dec 41, sub: Transfer of 
Constr and Real Estate Activities from QMC to CE. 
(2) WD Cir 69, 7 Mar 42, sub: Definition of Respon- 
sibility. (3) For a period of five months responsibility 
for refrigerated semitrailers was vested in the Ordnance 
Department: from 1 August 1942, when the Motor 
Transport Division was transferred to Ordnance, to 
24 December 1942, when research, design, and de- 
velopmental responsibility for special purpose vehicles 
pertaining to the QMC were returned to its jurisdic- 
tion. WD Cir 245, 25 Jul 42, Sec. IV, sub: Transfer 
of Certain MT Activities, and WD Cir 418, 24 Dec 
42, sub: MT Responsibilities. 

109 AGO Memo S5-103-43, 8 Jun 43, sub: Asmgts 
of PAB. 

110 (1) OQMG OO 25-46, 10 Aug 43, sub: Asgmt 
of Functions Transferred from CE. ( 2 ) About the same 
time responsibility for the development of the refrig- 
erated semitrailer was also transferred to the division. 
OQMG OO 25-48, 14 Aug 43, sub: Transfer of Func- 



equipment for fixed installations and for prac- 
tically all portable and mobile refrigeration 
equipment. 111 

Refrigerated Semitrailers 

One of the earliest items developed for han- 
dling perishable subsistence was the refrigerated 
semitrailer. The purpose of the developmental 
work, begun in the spring of 1941, was to pro- 
vide a semitrailer of the van type with a refrig- 
erator body capable of handling at least one 
day's meat and vegetable supply for one divi- 
sion. Various industries co-operated with the 
OQMG and the Holabird Quartermaster Depot 
in the early developmental work. 

The first specification drafted by Holabird 
was made broad enough to cover several com- 
mercial models, which were purchased for ex- 
perimental purposes. 112 The semitrailer was 
made principally of steel and insulated with 
corkboard and fiberglass. The refrigerating sys- 
tem was an integral part of the semitrailer, capa- 
ble of maintaining temperatures of 10° F. for 
frozen foods and 35° F. for fresh foods. As a re- 
sult of tests made by the Quartermaster Board 
and field use by a quartermaster refrigerator 
company during maneuvers in the fall of the 
year, several modifications, such as increased 
cork insulation in the floor, sides, and ceiling, 
were incorporated in a new specification. 113 In 
June of 1942, the 10-ton, two-wheel, refriger- 
ated semitrailer, utilizing a 4-5 ton 4x4 tractor, 
was standardized. 114 

Shortly thereafter motor transport activities, 
including the development of the refrigerated 
semitrailer, were transferred to the Ordnance 
Department. By the end of the year, however, 
responsibility for the design and development 
of special-purpose motor vehicles pertaining to 
the QMC had once more been restored to the 
Corps. In the following summer the Research 
and Development Branch reviewed the entire 
problem of providing fresh meat and vegetables 

to troops in forward areas. Tests were conducted 
both in the laboratory and in the field to deter- 
mine the mobility and usefulness of the refrig- 
erated semitrailer in accomplishing its mission. 

As a result the Quartermaster Board reported 
that the refrigerated semitrailer was satisfactory 
for operation in rear echelons only, inasmuch as 
greater mobility was required in forward areas. 
The size and the weight of the semitrailer were 
such that it could not leave a road quickly to 
seek shelter from an air attack. Moreover its 
size, weight, and slowness would definitely im- 
pede traffic on important supply roads. On the 
other hand, the semitrailer had capacity to sup- 
ply a greater number of troops than it had mo- 
bility to reach. The Quartermaster Board 
recommended that "consideration be given to 
the development of portable equipment to be 
mounted on iVi-ton 6x6, cargo trucks and 1-ton 
cargo trailers to replace the van-type, two- 
wheel, semitrailers and 4-5 ton, 4x4 tractors." 115 
Reports from theaters of operations amply sup- 
ported the findings of the board. 

Although refrigerated semitrailers of the 
heavy type were still being delivered as late as 
May 1945 to fill the requirements of the Service 
Installations Division, the Mechanical Section 
had, in July 1944, initiated a project to decrease 
the weight of this item to permit greater ma- 
neuverability and to increase the payload. A 

111 (1) Memo, Brig Gen H. Feldman, OQMG, for 
CG ASF, 9 Feb 44, sub: Asgmt of Responsibility for 
Refrigeration Equip. (2) WD Cir 156, Sec. V, 20 Apr 
44, sub: Refrigeration. (3) These provisions were 
slightly modified in the fall. WD Cir 446, Sec. VI, 23 
Nov 44, same sub. 

112 Ltr, Col Van Deusen, OQMG, to CO Holabird 
QMD, 17 May 41, sub: Development of Semitrailer, 
Refrigerated Body Type, 400.112. 

113 Ltr, Capt E. H. Holtzkemper, OQMG, to CO 
Holabird QMD, 31 Dec 41, sub: Mobile Refrigerator 
Unit, 400.1141. 

114 (1) Memo, Col Van Deusen, OQMG, for CG 
SOS, 12 Jun 42, sub: Standardization of Semitrailer, 
10-ton, 2- wheel (2dt), Refrigerator. (2) 3d ind, Hq 
SOS to TQMG, 30 Jun 42, on same. Both in 451.3. 

115 QMB Rpt, 10 Sep 43, sub: Project S-63, Rpt of 
Test of Mobile Refrigeration Unit, pp. 8-9. 



plug-in type of refrigerating system was to be 
used because, as a separate and self-contained 
unit, it could easily be removed and replaced. 116 
The heavy model of the refrigerated semitrailer 
weighed 14,700 pounds. An experimental model, 
weighing about half the amount, or 7,500 
pounds, was ordered by the Mechanical Section. 
This weight reduction was accomplished by the 
use of aluminum and featherweight insulation. 
It was expected that a payload of 15,000 pounds 
could be carried as compared with 10,000 
pounds carried in the heavy model. 

The pilot model of the aluminum semitrailer 
was completed in September and driven cross 
country from Spokane, Wash., to Camp Lee, 
Va. This road test revealed minor defects but 
aside from a few changes the Quartermaster 
Board considered that unit satisfactory. The first 
production model of the aluminum trailer body 
was completed and inspected in May 1945 and 
found to be "highly satisfactory." 117 The proj- 
ect was thereupon closed, since the develop- 
mental work was considered completed. 

The development of the lightweight semi- 
trailer was accomplished without too much dif- 
ficulty but developing a satisfactory separate re- 
frigerating unit raised many problems. The 
chief one was the inadequacy of the small gaso- 
line engine to provide power for the refrigerat- 
ing unit. In a test it broke down completely 
after 107 hours of operation, and the Quarter- 
master Board was therefore unable to test the 
refrigerating unit according to plan. 118 The 
problem had not been satisfactorily solved when 
the war ended and all contracts were canceled. 
The OQMG was convinced, however, of the 
need for a long-range developmental program 
for small gasoline engines, which was accord- 
ingly planned. 

Although a small number of lightweight 
semitrailers were produced in the summer of 
1945 they were not placed in service in the field. 
Any claims to superiority of the new design 
over the earlier heavy model must rest on the 

conclusions drawn from tests made during the 
developmental program. The question of its 
usefulness in delivering perishable food to 
troops in forward areas remained speculative. 

130-Cubic-Foot Portable Refrigerator 

The need for a refrigerator unit more port- 
able than the 10,000-pound semitrailer resulted 
in the initiation in August 1943 of a project for 
the development of a 150- (at one time planned 
as a 125-) cubic-foot portable cabinet that could 
withstand rough handling in forward areas. 
Comparative tests of the serviceability and mo- 
bility of the 10-ton semitrailer and various sized 
portable units were made at Camp Lee, Va. 119 

This project was barely begun when a requi- 
sition for several hundred 150-cubic-foot refrig- 
erators, operated by gasoline engines, was re- 
ceived from the South Pacific area under the 
mistaken belief that the units already in use 
there were Army items. Actually they were is- 
sued by the Navy. Theater requests for the 
Navy-type, 150-cubic-foot refrigerator led to the 
development of the Army unit, since the Navy 
refrigerator was found to be too heavy for easy 
transportation. 120 

The Mechanical Section continued develop- 
mental work on a 150-cubic-foot refrigerator in 
co-operation with various manufacturers who 
produced experimental models for testing at 
Camp Lee. By the beginning of 1944 a prelimi- 
nary report covering refrigeration and structural 
performance had been received from the Quar- 

116 (1) R&D Project Record, 189-44, sub: Semi- 
trailer, Two- Wheel, 10-ton gross, Refrigerator Body, 
Improved. (2) See also R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Jul 
44-31 May 45, under same title. 

117 Ibid., 31 May 45. 

118 QMB Rpt, 23 Mar 45, Project S-132, Prelimi- 
nary Rpt of Study of Semitrailer, Two- Wheel, 10-ton, 
Refrigerator Body, Lightweight (Refrigerating Sys- 
tem), T-1579. 

119 R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Aug-30 Sep 43. 

120 Asst Chief of R&D Br to QMCTC Sec, OQMG, 
31 Jan 45, sub: Walk-In Portable Refrigerator, 414.1. 



termaster Board. It was sufficiently complete so 
that prior to the drafting of a specification and 
drawings the Research and Development 
Branch could recommend purchase by the Pro- 
curement Division of the best model tested. 121 
By the end of February the drawings and speci- 
fication had been completed. 

This portable refrigerator unit, weighing 
about 3,900 pounds, utilized steel in its con- 
struction and corkboard for insulation. It had a 
twofold purpose. It was designed for the trans- 
portation and storage of frozen food up to ap- 
proximately 4,200 pounds of boneless beef, for 
which purpose its temperature could be auto- 
matically held at about 10° F. When used for 
the transportation and storage of unfrozen per- 
ishable produce, the temperature could be auto- 
matically held at about 35° F. Designed for 
rough usage, this "all-purpose, all-temperature 
refrigerator" could be operated while being 
transported over good roads on a 2 V^-ton truck 
or over rough terrain on a 4-ton truck. 122 

Although deficiencies in the unit were recog- 
nized, this model was produced to fill imme- 
diate requirements in the field but it was never 
standardized. Simultaneously, the Mechanical 
Section began developmental work on an im- 
proved model. The ratio of the weight of the 
refrigerator to its payload, which was about 1:1, 
was not considered uneconomical but it was felt 
that it could be improved. A lighter weight 
model was also desired. At a meeting attended 
by representatives of the OQMG, the Jefferson- 
ville Quartermaster Depot, and industry, the 
details and component parts to be incorporated 
in an approved pilot model were settled. In de- 
veloping the experimental featherweight mod- 
els, manufacturers used aluminum alloys in 
their construction while the mechanical units 
were of the plug-in type. 123 Early in 1945 the 
Bureau of Standards made tests of the thermal 
characteristics of the lightweight refrigerators. 
In the meantime an electric-driven, as well as a 
gasoline-engine drive, plug-in, refrigerating sys- 

tem was developed by the OQMG and tested 
by the bureau. 

This new lightweight model of the 150-cubic- 
foot refrigerator was standardized on 16 June 
1945 although it had not been service tested. 124 
In contrast to the earlier model the lightweight 
refrigerator with an electric-motor-driven refrig- 
erating unit weighed about 1,900 pounds but 
had the same payload. When a gasoline-engine- 
driven unit was plugged in, the refrigerator 
weighed 2,200 pounds. Made of aluminum 
sheet and insulated with rubber board in the 
floor and semi-rigid glass wool in the walls and 
ceiling, the refrigerator was also provided with 
lifting rings at the top corners for convenient 
handling. Runners were provided for dragging 
the refrigerator during loading and unloading 

The lightweight refrigerator had other ad- 
vantages over the earlier heavy model. Unlike 
the latter, the lightweight refrigerator and re- 
frigerating unit were independent components, 
which simplified the problems of procurement 
and maintenance. In the event of a major break- 
down the plug-in unit could easily be replaced. 
Where power was available, the electric-motor- 
driven refrigerating unit was satisfactory for use 
in a stationary field refrigerator. As in the case 
of the heavy model, a gasoline-engine-driven 
generator was used to operate the lightweight 
refrigerator while in transit on a truck. The in- 
adequacy of the small gasoline engine, however, 
handicapped development in the refrigeration 
field as it did in reference to many other Quar- 

121 R&D Br, Status Rpt, 31 Jan 44, p. 23. 

122 Capt Wetherbee to Chief of Mechanical Sec, 
OQMG, 26 Jun 44, sub: Comparison of 26l/ 2 , 50, 125 
cu. ft. Refrigerator Units. 

125 R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Mar-30 Jun 44, under 
heading Refrigerator, 'Portable, 125 cu. ft. 

124 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 16 May 
45, sub: Portable Refrigerator, Walk-In, Plug-In Type, 
150 cu. ft. (2) QMCTC, min of mtg. No. 10, 22 May 
45. (3) Ltr, Gen Doriot, OQMG, to CG ASF, 29 May 
45, same sub, and 1st ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 16 Jun 
45. All in 414.1. 



termaster items which it powered. Since the war 
ended before the lightweight portable refriger- 
ator was put into field use, its advantage over 
the heavy model in field operation cannot be 

Mobile Salvage Equipment 

When the modernization and expansion of 
the Army began in 1940, all QMC tactical or- 
ganizations were restudied. This led to the or- 
ganization of new mobile units, such as laundry 
companies, sterilization and bath companies, 
and shoe and textile repair companies. These 
so-called comfort organizations rendered impor- 
tant service to troops in the field, for high mo- 
rale is partly attributable to comfortable shoes, 
clean clothes, and baths. At the same time the 
requirements of the expanding Army for cloth- 
ing and equipage were enormous, emphasizing 
the need to conserve these items by salvage op- 
erations since the supply of wool, duck, leather, 
and other materials was not limitless. 

With the authorization of such mobile units 
by the War Department, the QMC began 
action to purchase the necessary equipment for 
them. For example, in the spring of 1941 the 
OQMG requested and received permission to 
purchase two semitrailers with equipment 
mounted in them for the repair of barracks bags, 
blankets, coats, shirts, trousers, and shelter-half 
tents. This equipment was to be used for ex- 
perimental and training purposes at Camp Lee 
with a view to standardization. 125 By August 
semitrailers with commercial equipment appro- 
priate for each of the new mobile units were 
standardized. 126 

This equipment— in the case of the mobile 
clothing repair shop it included a sewing ma- 
chine, together with a tack button, darning, and 
button-sewing machine— was operated by an 
electric generator powered by a gasoline engine. 
It was mounted on one or more two-wheel, 
van-type semitrailers which measured 22 by 8 

feet, with a height of 6V2 feet, and which 
weighed approximately 20,000 pounds each 
when fully equipped. The prime movers were 
in all cases 4-5 ton 4x4 tractors. These, like the 
semitrailers, had been standardized by earlier 
action of the Motor Committee of the QMCTC. 
A considerable number of these mobile units 
were sent overseas. By the following summer of 
1943 reports from the North African Theater be- 
gan to come in. The shoe repair and the cloth- 
ing and textile repair units were doing a good 
job, but it was observed that they were set up as 
semipermanent installations, chiefly in the sal- 
vage depot at Casablanca. Mobile laundry units 
operating in NATO were for the most part at- 
tached directly to hospitals. They handled hos- 
pital laundry exclusively, and early in the cam- 
paign they remained with the larger base 
hospitals in rear areas. The mobile sterilization 
and bath units "performed a fine job for front 
line troops in the Tunisian campaign." Because 
of their size, however, they could not proceed 
too close to the forward lines. The vans were 
set up just out of artillery range of the enemy, 
and division quartermasters arranged schedules 
for the fighting troops to come back to the mo- 
bile units during their period of relief from 
combat duty. On the other hand, men within 
artillery range relied on the combat engineers 
to erect shower facilities by means of portable 
shower pipes. According to one observer, twice 
the number of mobile laundry and sterilization 
and bath units could have been used to good 
advantage in NATO. The limited number of 
such units available was due to the fact that 
their size precluded getting shipping priority 

125 Ltr, Gen Corbin, OQMG, to ACofS G-4, 25 
Mar 41, sub: Mobile C&E Repair Units, and 1st ind, 
TAG to TQMG, 1 Apr 41, 413.8. 

126 (1) Memo, TQMG for ACofS G-4, 29 Jul 41, 
sub: Mobile Clo Repair Shop. (2) Memo, same to 
same, 30 Jul 41, sub: Mobile Shoe Repair Shop. (3) 
Memo, same to same, 29 Jul 41, sub: Mobile Laundry. 
(4) 2d ind, AGO to TQMG, 2 Aug 41, on each 
memo. All in 413.8. 



for them. A great amount of deck space and 
special handling was required to transport the 
mobile semitrailers. The use of a more compact 
unit was recommended. It was obvious, too, 
that these units were not sufficiently mobile or 
maneuverable to be used in tactical situations as 
had been intended. 127 

By this time the experiences of the Army 
provided a basis for appraisal of the field oper- 
ations of the mobile units hurriedly organized 
in 1941. It was now possible to institute desir- 
able improvements, and, as a preliminary step, 
the OQMG directed the Quartermaster Board 
to conduct a series of studies on mobile units 
for the purpose of accumulating data on their 
mobility, operating efficiency, tactical employ- 
ment, maintenance requirements, and on the 
adequacy of tables of organization and equip- 
ment. 128 

The findings of the Quartermaster Board sup- 
ported the criticisms made in the field about 
mobile equipment. Mobile semitrailers lacked 
mobility and maneuverability for operations in 
forward areas. "Not only were they found to be 
easy targets for attacking aircraft and vulnerable 
to attack and capture by ground action, but it 
was disclosed that their low speed and maneu- 
verability constitute a definite danger if em- 
ployed on important supply roads on which 
other military traffic demands are heavy." t29 

At the same time responsibility for the re- 
search, design, and development of special vehi- 
cles peculiar to the QMC was transferred from 
the Mobile Equipment Branch of the Service 
Installations Division to the Military Planning 
Division. 1 ' The Research and Development 
Branch thus became responsible for designing 
more suitable mobile equipment. 

In January 1944 the Mechanical Section ini- 
tiated a project to design, in co-operation with 
industry and the Jeffersonville Quartermaster 
Depot, more portable and mobile salvage re- 
pair units. 131 A new approach was taken. The 
cumbersome two-wheel, van-type semitrailers 

were eliminated and replaced by one-ton, two- 
wheel cargo trailers which weighed about 3,900 
pounds equipped, and measured 5 feet 7 inches 
in width by 9 feet in length by 5 feet 6 inches 
in height. These trailers were towed by 2 1 /2-ton 
6x6 trucks in place of the 4-5 ton 4x4 tractors. 
The new equipment used in the shoe, clothing, 
and textile repair units was basically similar in 
general operating characteristics to that used in 
the earlier units. Unlike the early mobile units, 
which mounted the equipment in a semitrailer 
for both movement and operation, the new de- 
sign provided for boxing the machinery and ar- 
ranging it compactly in special compartments 
in each trailer for transit. In operation this 
equipment was dismounted from the trailer and 
installed on the ground in tentage or buildings. 
In addition to mobility, maneuverability, 
compactness, and lightness, the QMC by the 
summer of 1944 was considering the desirability 
of adding another military characteristic to 
mobile and portable units, namely, capability of 
being transported by air. 132 The success of air- 
borne supply in theaters of operations suggested 
the possibility of greater use of this method, 
particularly in the Asiatic and Pacific theaters. 
It was proposed to bring the matter before the 
QMCTC for decision and, if favorably acted 
upon, to obtain from the Air Forces information 
as to the types of planes or gliders in which each 

127 (1) Capt Pounder, Rpt of QM Opns in NATO, 
5 Mar-2 Jun 43. (2) Compare, Lt Morison, Rpt of 
Observation, Desert Tng Center, Sep-Oct 1943^. (3) 
Product Analysis Sec to Mechanical Sec, OQMG, 8 Jul 
44, sub: Semi-Mobile Units, giving extracts from rpt, 
Capt Orr, SWP base, 9 Jun 44. 

128 Dir of QM Bd to TQMG, Rpt on QM Bd, Camp 
Lee, Va., 1 Feb 42-30 Jun 44, p. 102. 

129 Ibid., pp. 103-04. 

no OQMG OO 25-48, 14 Aug 43, sub: Transfer 
of Functions. 

1.1 (1) R&D Project Record, R- 103-44, 29 Jan 44, 
sub: Salv Repair Unit. (2) See also R&D, Status Rpts, 
31 Mar-30 Nov 44, under heading Salv Repair Units. 

1.2 Lt Col David B. Dill to Maj McLean, OQMG, 6 
Jun 44, sub: Air Transport of QM Mobile and Portable 


PORTABLE REPAIR UNITS. Clothing repair unit set up for operation (above) and trailer type shoe 
repair unit (below). 



class of items would be transported. The new 
military characteristic was approved and the 
completed mobile trailer units were made so 
that they could either be towed by 2 1 /2-ton 6x6 
trucks or carried in C-47 airplanes or CG-4A 

Tests of the new salvage repair mobile units 
by the Quartermaster Board proved satisfactory. 
The Jeffersonville Depot prepared specifications 
by November. In the following month the 
QMCTC recommended standardization of the 
new mobile units and reclassification of the 
earlier models as limited standard. 133 As the war 
ended these new salvage repair units were just 
beginning to come from the factories. 

Laundry Equipment 

The laundry equipment standardized in the 
summer of 1941 was a vast improvement over 
that used in World War I but suffered from the 
same defects as other mobile equipment uti- 
lizing van-type semitrailers. 134 Early in 1944 the 
Mechanical Section initiated a project to de- 
velop a more mobile laundry unit. Jeffersonville 
Depot technicians contributed to each phase of 
the development. It was proposed to design a 
new laundry unit mounted on two small-sized 
two-wheel trailers. The tires and the wheels 
of the latter were made interchangeable with 
those of a 2 x h -ton 6x6 truck. One trailer was 
equipped with a washer, extractor, drain bin, 
electric auxiliary pump, and an automatic water 
heater which operated on either automotive or 
aviation-type gasoline. This trailer with its 
equipment weighed 4,720 pounds. The second 
trailer carried a drying tumbler with a gasoline- 
fired air heater, an electric generator providing 
power for equipment on both trailers and light- 
ing for night operations, and a hose reel for 
storing all water hose. This trailer weighed 
4,420 pounds. Fuel tanks, spare parts, and ex- 
haust hose were carried on each trailer. These 

trailers could be towed by 2V^-ton trucks which 
carried personnel as well as equipment and sup- 
plies. When the wheels were removed from the 
trailer bed, the units could also be transported 
by C-47 airplanes. The unit was capable of 
processing 1,000 pounds of clothing per 8-hour 
shift. On the basis of 5 pounds a week for each 
man, one laundry company could serve 48,000 
troops. 1 35 

The two-trailer type mobile laundry was first 
tested at Camp Indian Bay, Fla., by the Quarter- 
master Board during the summer of 1944. While 
it was satisfactory in most respects, a number of 
deficiencies were revealed affecting the capacity 
of the unit. On the assurance of the manufac- 
turer that the burner defects could be corrected, 
the mobile laundry was standardized on 5 Janu- 
ary 1945 because of the urgent need for this 
type of equipment in the field. 136 

Because of production difficulties a tumbler 
made by the Huebsch Co. was substituted for 
the Hoffman Co. model used in the develop- 
mental work. As a consequence it was necessary 
to engage in more experimental work to adapt 
the Huebsch standard tumbler to the new-type 
gasoline air heater. Tests of this model com- 
pleted by the Quartermaster Board during the 
first week in July revealed that the operation of 
the tumbler prevented the laundry from reach- 
ing its rated output capacity. In addition, 
repeated attempts failed to make the original 

'» (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 28 Nov 
44, sub: Two- Wheel, Tractor, Shoe Repair et al. (2) 
QMCTC, min of mtg No. 25, 5 Dec 44. (3) Ltr, Col 
Doriot to CG ASF, 11 Dec 44, same sub, and 2d ind, 
Hq ASF to TQMG, 5 Jan 45. All in 412. 

1,4 For a fuller treatment of the development of 
laundry equipment see Louis Filler, Laundry and 
Related Activities of the The Quartermaster General 
(QMC Historical Studies 13, March 1946). 

135 R&D Project Record, R-102-44, Feb 44. 

15b (l) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 28 Nov 
44, sub: Two-Trailer Type Mobile Laundry. (2) 
QMCTC, min of mtg No. 25, 5 Dec 44. (3) Ltr, Col 
Doriot to CG ASF, 1 1 Dec 44, same sub, and 2d ind, 
Hq ASF to TQMG, 5 Jan 45, 412. 



burners operate satisfactorily. 1 " A conference 
with the manufacturers was held immediately to 
effect modifications. After the war ended, de- 
velopmental work to perfect an improved 
tumbler was continued as a postwar project. 

Mobile Bath Units 

Like other mobile equipment developed 
during 1940-41, the sterilization and bath unit 
proved unsuitable for use in forward areas. 
There were about four such units in the North 
African Theater during the Tunisian Campaign. 
These, however, were left behind in Africa dur- 
ing the Sicilian Campaign. The first unit to 
reach Italy was moved into the rear area of the 
Fifth Army in late November 1943. Few infantry 
troops in Italy used the massive sterilization and 
bath unit for it was not "considered practical to 
place it within their reach." 138 

The sterilization and bath equipment con- 
sisted of four tents and a trailer. The four tents 
were set up near the trailer and used for un- 
dressing, physical examination, salvaging soiled 
clothes, and providing new clothes and dressing 
space. The trailer was equipped with a steam 
chamber in which the soldier's clothes were 
steamed under pressure at 252° for fifteen min- 
utes. Outside the chamber were twelve shower 
heads for baths. The trailer was also equipped 
with a boiler. No field complaint was made of 
the serviceability of the shower facilities, but it 
was found that the sterilization equipment was 
not used to any great extent for clothing. It was 
used primarily to sterilize blankets and mat- 
tresses. While hospitals needed sterilization 
equipment a Quartermaster observer suggested 
that the only fumigation equipment needed by 
the soldier was the individual methyl-bromide 
bag. 139 

The QMC employed two types of delousing— 
•steam and methyl bromide. The latter was in- 
tended eventually to replace the steam units but 
both methods continued to be used throughout 

the war. Early in 1942 as a result of conferences 
between the Sanitation Division of The Surgeon 
General's Office and the Laundry Branch, 
OQMG, the conclusion was reached that steam 
sterilization was not necessary to kill disease 
germs and that fumigation would suffice. Fumi- 
gation chambers used less critical material in 
their construction and were lighter in weight 
than the older steam sterilizing chambers. As a 
consequence they could be moved closer to 
combat areas. 

The Department of Agriculture for many 
years had been interested in the use of methyl 
bromide as a fumigant. At the request of The 
Surgeon General, the Bureau of Entomology 
and Plant Quarantine of the Department of 
Agriculture designed a mobile methyl-bromide 
chamber. 140 Tested at Camp Lee, this chamber 
was found to be too small and not properly 
constructed for use with a mobile sterilization 
company. From this preliminary design, how- 
ever, the QMC evolved a satisfactory 330-cubic- 
foot chamber made of plywood panels which 
was capable of holding 60 barracks bags. The 
sterilization and bath unit was reclassified as 
limited standard and the new mobile fumigation 
and bath unit was standardized in March 

In the following months a considerable 
amount of developmental work was carried on 

137 Memo, Gen Doriot for TQMG, 3 Aug 45, sub: 
Two-Trailer Type Mobile Laundry. 

,58 (1) Col Dill to Dirof Mil Ping Div, OQMG, 
n. d., sub: Rpt of Travel to NATO, 26 Oct- 13 Dec 
43. (2) Capt Pounder, Rpt of QM Opns in NATO, 
5 Mar-2 Jun 43. 

139 Col Dill to Dir of Mil Ping Div, OQMG, n. d., 
sub: Rpt of Travel to NATO, 26 Oct- 13 Dec 43. 

140 ( 1 ) Louis Filler, Laundry and Related Activities of 
The Quartermaster General, pp. 154ff. (2) Ltr, OSG to 
Hq SOS, 20 Jun 42, sub: Delousing of C&E, 727.4. 
(3) 2d ind, Lt Col T. M. Duff, OQMG, to CG SOS, 
1 1 Jul 42, on same. 

141 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 21 Jan 
43, sub: Mobile Fumigation and Bath Unit. (2) 1st 
ind, QMCTC to OQMG, 26 Jan 43, on same. (3) 4th 
ind, SOS to TQMG, 16 Mar 43. All in 414.4. 



to improve the construction of the fumigation 
chamber. After 14 August 1943 this was accom- 
plished by the Mechanical Section, following 
the transfer of responsibility for research and 
developmental work on fumigation chambers 
from the Service Installations Division. About 
two months earlier the QMC had been given 
the responsibility for the procurement of all 
portable and mobile delousing equipment, 
including the writing of specifications. 142 

The fumigating chamber was not used to any 
great extent in the field, largely because there 
was no more need for it than there had been for 
the sterilization unit. Infestation among combat 
troops was uncommon, and when it occurred 
other methods, particularly the use of DDT, 
were effective. Less than 100 cases of infestation 
occurred in the Fifth Army during the entire 
month of January 1944. w On the basis of these 
findings The Surgeon General's Office was 
queried on the desirability of continuing pro- 
curement of the methyl-bromide chamber. In 
the spring of 1944 he recommended discontinu- 
ance as soon as possible. 144 

While the successful use of DDT diminished 
the need for fumigation chambers and raised 
the question of the reorganization of the fumi- 
gation and bath company, the OQMG found 
there was a real need for highly mobile field 
bathing facilities. Until the very end of the war 
responsibility for field bathing equipment was 
divided between the QMC and the Corps of 
Engineers. The pioneer work in the develop- 
ment of shower facilities for soldiers in the field 
was carried out by the Corps of Engineers. 
Its activities in this undertaking dated from 
the period immediately following the termina- 
tion of World War I. The use of improvised 
types of field showers during that war had 
demonstrated that troop morale and health 
could be improved by adequate bathing facili- 
ties. Quartermaster interest also dated from the 
period after World War I and was further stim- 
ulated by the organization of the sterilization 

and bath companies just before the United 
States entered World War II. 

When the QMC initiated development of a 
new fumigation and bath unit and dropped 
procurement of the sterilization unit after Janu- 
ary 1943, it was most interested in providing a 
more mobile outfit. For a new bathing unit the 
Military Planning Division turned to a mobile 
eight-head shower unit developed by the Corps 
of Engineers and favorably tested in 1941. It 
had been rejected for standardization by the 
Assistant Chief of Engineers because he felt that 
rubber tires and manufacturing facilities should 
not be wasted in "providing luxuries and exces- 
sive convenience as implied by trailer mount- 
ing." Procurement had been limited to sixty 
sets which were turned over to the QMC and 
subsequently standardized. l45 The OQMG 
revised the design to provide for units with 
twelve instead of eight shower heads for use in 
the new mobile fumigation and bath unit. Sub- 
sequently a twenty-four-head shower unit 
replaced the twelve-head unit, and the fumiga- 
tion chamber and shower unit were standard- 
ized separately, thereby facilitating the practice 
of setting up bath units independently of 
sterilization and fumigation activities. 146 Unfor- 
tunately for purposes of operation by the 
trained personnel of the fumigation and bath 
companies, the fumigation and bath units were 
not separated. Because fumigation facilities 
were not required in the various theaters to any 

142 (1) OQMG OO 25-48, 14 Aug 43, sub: Trans- 
fer of Functions. (2) ASF Memo S5-103-43, 8 Jun 

43, sub: Asgmts of PAB. 

145 Col Dill to Dir of Mil Ping Div, n. d., sub: Rpt 
on Travel to NATO, 26 Oct- 13 Dec 43. 

144 (1) Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to OSG, 18 Mar 

44, sub: Methyl Bromide Fumigation Chambers. (2) 
2d ind, OSG to TQMG, 1 Apr 44, on same. Both in 

145 4th ind, Hq SOS to TQMG, 16 Mar 43, on rpt, 
Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 21 Jan 43, sub: Mobile 
Fumigator and Bath Unit, 414.4. 

146 4th ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 30 Nov 43, on rpt, 
Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 19 Oct 43, sub: Equip 
for Fumigation and Bath Co. 



considerable extent, the complementary mobile 
shower units were not provided to the fullest 
extent possible. 147 As a consequence, by the 
middle of 1944 many complaints were being 
received from the theaters concerning the 
inadequacy of the bath facilities provided for 
the troops. To remedy this situation the Mili- 
tary Planning Division in October proposed 
the use on maneuvers of small mobile shower 
detachments operated by six men and equipped 
with one bath unit and one 2 1 /2-ton truck. Such 
a test would provide the basis for a decision on 
the advisability of providing this equipment as 
part of the organizational set-up for a division 
and for corps and army troops. 148 Later the ASF 
provided for essentially the same bath unit in a 
revised Table of Organization and Equipment 
10-500, published 10 January 1945. l49 There is 
no indication, however, that any of these units 
were ever activated. 

The Jeffersonville Depot published a speci- 
fication for the separate bath unit which pro- 
vided for an oil-fired water heater mounted on 
a steel channel frame. The fuel pump, water 
pump, and air blower were operated by a 
single-cylinder, four-cycle, air-cooled gasoline 
engine mounted on the trailer. Piping, shower 
heads, and hose were designed to be mounted 
on brackets on the side of the unit when the 
trailer was being towed. The complete unit 
weighed about 3,800 pounds, and the trailer 
was so designed that the front wheel could be 
folded under for transport by a C-47 or C-54 
plane. 150 

Shower facilities were tremendously effective 
morale builders. They were extremely popular, 
particularly when set up in connection with a 
clothing exchange unit which enabled the 
soldier to don an entirely clean outfit after bath- 
ing. A number of deficiencies in the bath units 
were revealed in use, however, and on the basis 
of theater criticism the Military Planning 
Division initiated a project in April 1945 to 
eliminate the defects, reduce the over- all weight, 

and improve performance. The developmental 
work on this lightweight model was continued 
after the war ended. 

In April the AAF requested the development 
of a portable eight-head shower unit which 
would be an improvement over the shower unit 
developed by the Corps of Engineers. Head- 
quarters, ASF, called upon the Chief of Engi- 
neers for comment, and the latter took the op- 
portunity of recommending that the develop- 
ment of shower equipment for field use be as- 
signed to his office to avoid competitive devel- 
opment between the QMC and the Corps of 
Engineers. Headquarters, ASF, concurred. 151 
The OQMG, however, protested promptly and 
vigorously, outlining its case so effectively that 
Headquarters, ASF, on 27 July 1945 rescinded 
its earlier order and concentrated in the QMC 
the responsibility for the development of all mo- 
bile and portable bath equipment to accompany 
troops in the field. 152 


In the developmental work initiated to pro- 
vide the Army with suitable tents, the OQMG 
and the Jeffersonville Quartermaster Depot 
analyzed and investigated problems of design, 
fabric construction, and finishes which increased 
the resistance of cotton duck to water, fire, and 
mildew. At first the QMC was most concerned 
with the performance of tentage. The desire for 
a superior finish and color for tentage duck had 

147 Memo, Col Doriot, OQMG, to CG AGF, 18 
Oct 44, sub: Use of 24-Showerhead Mobile Fid Bath 
Unit, 412.2. 

148 Ibid. 

149 3d ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 8 Dec 44, see memo 
cited in n. 147. 

1,0 JQD 1035, 21 Nov 44, sub: 24-Showerhead 
Mobile Bath Unit. 

151 5th ind, Hq ASF to CE, 4 May 45, on ltr, AAF 
to ASF, 15 Feb 45, sub: 8- Head Portable Shower Unit. 

152 Memo, Brig Gen H. A. Barnes, OQMG, for CG 
ASF, 21 May 45, sub: Fid Shower Equip, and 1st ind, 
Hq ASF to TQMG, 27 Jul 45, 412.2. 



crystallized throughout the Army during 1940 
and 1941. In anticipation of decisions to be tak- 
en, the Air Corps had conducted exhaustive 
visibility tests in 1935, and subsequently the 
Corps of Engineers, responsible for camouflage, 
made studies to develop the most suitable color 
for Army materiel. 

Ever since World War I Army tentage had 
been made of 15.5-ounce duck, colored to a 
khaki shade with mineral colors and then treat- 
ed with aluminum acetate, soap, and wax to 
gain water repellency. The weight of this finish 
added only slightly to the weight of the goods. 
On the eve of World War II, to promote uni- 
formity, the QMC adopted the standard olive 
drab shade No. 3 for all personal and organiza- 
tional equipment using duck and webbing. 
Later, to conceal military equipment and mate- 
riel more effectively, the dark green olive drab 
shade No. 7 was adopted because this color was 
less visible from the air than the No. 3 shade. 153 

As a protection against incendiaries, the 
QMC also decided to treat Army canvas with a 
fire-resistant finish. This "746" finish had been 
developed during the thirties through the co- 
operative efforts of private industry, the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, and the QMC. 154 The ap- 
plication of the finish 1 -- to 15.5-ounce duck in- 
creased its weight by nearly 50 percent, but in 
view of the advantages to be gained through its 
use the factor of increased weight had to be dis- 
regarded. To compensate for the additional 
weight, however, the QMC substituted a 12.29- 
ounce duck for the 15.5-ounce duck, thereby 
lightening the weight of the treated duck by 
about 5 ounces per square yard. 156 The 746 fin- 
ish had the advantage of giving fire and water 
resistance and of providing longer life and good 
color for camouflage to the heavy tentage can- 
vas used in making large tents. 

The national emergency soon directed atten- 
tion to the finish applied to tentage fabric, since 
chlorinated rubber was used as a fireproofing 
and waterproofing agent. Both crude rubber and 

chlorine were on the list of strategic and critical 
materials. A study was therefore undertaken to 
find suitable substitutes. This project was com- 
pleted by the spring of 1942 when waxes and 
other materials were substituted for crude rub- 
ber. 157 Efforts to develop an improved finish 
continued for many months at the Jeffersonville 
Depot, resulting in the replacement of the 1939 
performance specification by a new one clearly 
stating which materials were mandatory in the 
preparation of the finish and which were pro- 
hibited. 158 

A comparatively new requirement for Army 
tentage was mildew resistance. Prior to World 
War II mildew-proofing had not been a major 
military problem. Warfare in humid, tropical 
jungles, however, created a demand for preserv- 
ative treatments of textile items of both equip- 
ment and clothing to prevent loss of service 
through the action of mold-rot and mildew. In 
the summer of 1942 the Jeffersonville Depot 
began a study of mildew and mildew-resistant 
compounds. Certain fungicides were on the 
market and under commercial development, 
but it was necessary to evaluate their claims of 
effectiveness, durability, and safety as well as to 
set up test methods for acceptance purposes. 
Through the work of the Department of Agri- 
culture, long engaged in study of the preven- 

155 (1) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 2, 26 Jan 43. (2) 
Ltr, Col Kennedy, OQMG, to Hq SOS, 30 Dec 42, 
sub: Color for C&E. (3) 1st ind, Hq SOS to ACofS 
G-4, 1 Jan 43, on same. (4) Memo, ACofS G-4, for 
CG ASF, 30 Mar 43, same sub. All in 400.1141. 

154 Memo for file, James R. Redmond, Chief of Fire- 
Resistant Duck Sec, JQMD, 19 Apr 43, no sub. 

155 Fed Spec CCC-D-746, 17 Feb 39, sub: Cotton 
Duck, Fire, Water, and Weather Resistant. 

156 Rpt, Col Robert T. Stevens, Deputy Dir for Pur- 
chases, OQMG, and Ralph A. Butland, Textile Tech- 
nologist, 1 Feb 44, sub: QMC Duck and Webbing 

1,7 Ltr, Col Doriot to S. P. Thacher, Chief of Rubber 
Conservation, ANMB, 10 Aug 42, sub: Rpt on Rubber 

158 QMC Spec JQD 242, 2 Dec 42, sub: Cotton 
Duck, Fire, Water, and Weather Resistant. 



tion of the growth of microorganisms on fab- 
rics, and the Jeffersonville and Philadelphia De- 
pots, several fungicides and treatments proved 
reasonably satisfactory for the purpose intended 
and were accepted on procurements of military 
items. 1 - 9 Since it was believed that the funda- 
mental principles of mildew-proofing should be 
clarified and established and that treatments 
could be improved, research continued in this 
field throughout the war years. 160 

The progress made in solving the problems 
of water, fire, and mildew resistance was appli- 
cable to textile items of clothing and of equip- 
ment. Similarly, what was learned about fabric 
construction in the development of water-re- 
sistant fabrics for use in combat clothing could 
also be applied to tentage fabrics. From the be- 
ginning of 1944 the high-sley oxford principle 
of construction was carried into heavier weight 
fabrics. Since a critical shortage of cotton duck 
developed during that year, this experimenta- 
tion proved helpful in solving the problem. 
Tests conducted by the Textile Foundation 
showed that flat ducks made in a jo-cloth 161 
type were superior in water repellency to num- 
bered ducks of equal weight. This was extreme- 
ly significant since it made possible the use of 
single yarn material in place of plied yarn dur- 
ing the duck shortage then facing the QMC. 
The importance of restudying fabrics used for 
tentage was evident to the Textile Section, and 
developmental work in this field was continued 
through the war period. 162 

Squad Tent 

Development of newly designed tents began 
in 1942. Improved construction techniques were 
not then factors for consideration. The QMC 
was concerned primarily with the production of 
special types of tents for a particular use. When 
the war started the Corps was procuring and 
utilizing the pyramidal eight-man squad tent of 

World War I, which was commonly used for 
housing personnel. In addition, the Army used 
various other tents— command post, storage, 
hospital ward, surgical operating, and as- 
sembly—as well as a large wall tent, which 
served for general utility, and a smaller one for 
officers' quarters. 

Reviewing this situation, the OQMG ini- 
tiated the development of a twelve-man experi- 
mental tent to effect simplification of the tent 
procurement program and conservation of cot- 
ton duck. 163 Since the Army had adopted the 
twelve-man squad as a tactical unit, this new 
tent was called the squad tent and was designed 
to house the entire squad in training or over- 
seas. It was twice as large as the pyramidal tent 
which it was intended to replace, but it con- 
served duck by using somewhat less material 
than two pyramidal tents. 164 

Simplification of issue through reduction in 
the number of types of tents was to be pro- 
moted by the substitution of the squad tent for 
the storage, hospital ward, and large wall tents 
as well as for the pyramidal tent. These by ac- 
tion of the QMCTC, were reclassified as limited 
standard items to be issued until the supply was 
exhausted. The squad tent, which retained the 
basic conceptions of the pyramidal tent, was 

159 Ltr, Col Doriot to Dr. E. C. Auchter, Dept of 
Agriculture, 12 Feb 43, no sub. 

160 See R&D Br, Status Rpts for 1944 and 1945 
under headings: Finish, Mildew, Pretreatment, for 
Military Fabrics; and Finish, Textile, Resistant to 
Degradation of Microorganism and Tropical Exposure. 

161 This was the Quartermaster name applied to 
fabrics using the principle of construction derived from 
the Textile Institute of Manchester, England. Officially 
the specifications read high-sley oxford. 

162 R&D Br, Status Rpts, 31 Oct 44, pp. 56-57; 31 
Dec 44, p. 56; 30 Apr 45, p. 57; 31 Jul 45, pp. 47-4£. 

163 (1) Standardization Br, Rpt of Test and Devel- 
opment Work in Progress, 2 Jan 42. (2) QMCTC, 
min of mtg No. 10, 6 Oct 42. 

164 (1) Lt Earl M. Savitt to Chief of R&D Sec, 
OQMG, 15 Feb 42, sub: Squad Tent, Model 1942 
(Experimental). (2) Memo, Gen Corbin, OQMG, for 
ACofS G-4, 5 Mar 42, same sub. Both in 400.112. 



standardized on 16 December 1942."" 

The Jeffersonville Depot objected to the pro- 
posed substitution of the squad tent for the 
other four tents because it would disrupt the 
procurement program and result in a serious 
loss of production. "The present program will 
meet the needs of our troops, and why make 
changes when the change will not materially af- 
fect any factor in winning the War?" l66 It was 
suggested that procurement be limited to an 
experimental quantity of 10,000 squad tents so 
that the difficulties of production could be de- 
termined before a complete change-over was 
made. These views, supported by the Procure- 
ment Division, OQMG, were not concurred in 
by the Military Planning Division, which advo- 
cated the substitution. 16 " 

The views of Quartermaster procurement 
personnel prevailed because of the necessity for 
continuing large-scale production of the old- 
style tents after the United States entered the 
war, inasmuch as no new design was immedi- 
ately available. Even after a new design had 
been developed, many months would elapse be- 
fore volume production could be attained. By 
the time the new squad tent had been standard- 
ized in 1942, more than a million of the four 
old-type tents had been manufactured, a quanti- 
ty sufficient to meet immediate Army require- 
ments. Only 19,000 squad tents were delivered 
in 1943. 168 Although production of this item 
increased many times to meet the large require- 
ments of 1944 and 1945, the squad tent did not 
replace the storage, hospital ward, large wall, 
and pyramidal tents during World War II, and 
thus the simplification objective of the Research 
and Development Branch was not attained. 

No radical changes in construction were em- 
bodied in the design of the squad tent. The con- 
struction of tents was still viewed chiefly as a 
matter of providing a desired amount of cov- 
ered floor space by using certain conventional 
elements of construction, such as walls and 
sloping decks, and by utilizing fabrics of such 

strength that their structural design presented 
no particular problem when they were used, as 
heretofore, over relatively short periods of time. 

In 1944, however, when the production of 
the squad tent was to be greatly increased to 
meet the large quantities requisitioned from the 
field, the structural soundness of the tent and 
the principles of its construction were ques- 
tioned. When reports of excessive tent failures 
began to come in from the Pacific early in the 
war, the explanation at first was in terms of in- 
adequate protection against fungus attack. Later 
it became evident that basic structural weak- 
nesses existed in the tents used by the Army. 
Contrary to the principles employed in other 
types of housing, the entire support of the tent 
was provided by the roof fabric itself. Concen- 
trated stress at various points led to excessive 
elongation of the fabric, resulting in leakage at 
the seams and rupture of the fabric. 

Through the National Research Council, the 
Military Planning Division entered into a con- 
tractual arrangement with the Institute of In- 
dustrial Research at the University of Louisville 
to study the problem of stresses and strains 
placed on tentage fabrics when used in tents. 
The study of tent design and construction was 
later broadened to include other phases, such as 
the problem of heating and ventilating tents. 169 

Based on the findings of the Institute of In- 
dustrial Research, certain constructional modifi- 

165 ( 1 ) [2d ind], Hq SOS to TQMG, 16 Dec 42. 
(2) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 12, 20 Oct 42. (3) The 
hospital ward tent remained in use for field hospitals 
having more than 500 beds. 

166 Ltr, Brig Ben Allen R. Kimball, CG JQMD, to 
TQMG, 2 Nov 42, sub: Squad Tents, 424.1. 

167 (1) Mil Ping Div to Procurement Div, OQMG, 
11 Nov 42, sub: Squad Tent. (2) Procurement Div to 
Mil Ping Div, OQMG, 21 Nov 42, same sub. Both 
in 424.1. 

168 Statistical Yearbook of the QMC, 1945, p. 53. 

169 (1) Institute of Industrial Research, University 
of Louisville, Tent Design and Construction, Textile 
Series, Rpt 15, Tent Research Rpt, 1, n.d. (2) R&D 
Br, Status Rpts, Feb-Aug 45, under headings: Tent, 
Construction and Material; Tent, Design and Material. 



cations of the squad tent design were proposed 
early in 1945. To eliminate the strain placed 
upon canvas used in the tent roof, it was planned 
to suspend the roof canvas on a webbing frame 
which would carry the load.' 70 At the same time 
consideration was also given to raising the 
height of the side walls of the squad tent from 
the approved AVi feet to 6 feet. Information 
from Pacific theaters had indicated that tents 
were being erected over built-up frames to raise 
the tent higher from the ground, thereby pro- 
viding better ventilation and more efficient use 
of interior floor space. 171 

Unfortunately the proposed modifications re- 
quired the use of more duck for the side walls 
and more cotton yarn to produce the required 
webbing. The limitations of production again 
prevented the procurement of a new design. 
The findings of research were therefore not ap- 
plied to the production of tents during the 


needs, The Quartermaster General requested 
authority to procure 30,000 of the portable shel- 
ters as direct substitutes for the squad tent. 175 
To permit this procurement, the QMCTC rec- 
ommended, and Headquarters, ASF, approved 
classification of the item as a limited procure- 
ment type. 176 The war ended before results 
could be obtained, but developmental work 

Maintenance Shelter Tent 

The development of one other type of tent 
merits attention since it involved a basic change 
in design, namely, the use of a rigid frame in 
lieu of poles and pins. The mechanization of 
the Army gave rise to a need for portable shel- 
ters in which to repair vehicles under blackout 
conditions. This need was particularly stressed 
by Armored Force observers returning from 

Portable Squad Shelter 

One development in design that evolved out 
of the critical shortage of duck in 1944 grew out 
of the effort to find substitutes for tentage duck. 
At the request of Headquarters, ASF, 173 a proj- 
ect was initiated to develop a lightweight port- 
able shelter which would use less duck yet be 
comparable in size and shape to the squad tent. 
The shelter was also to provide more storage 
space than the storage tent and to be transport- 
able in a 2V^-ton 6x6 truck. 174 Developmental 
contracts were given to a number of engineer- 
ing concerns, and experimental models employ- 
ing aluminum, steel, or plywood roofs, and cot- 
ton duck sides and ends, were designed. 

On the basis of these models the OQMG 
drafted a specification embodying the best fea- 
tures of each. Models constructed along the 
specified lines were tested during the summer 
of 1945. In the meantime, to meet immediate 

170 By this type of construction "the entire strain of 
the tent is carried from the ridge line through a piece 
of heavy webbing to a D-ring at the eave-line to which 
the tent rope is attached through a movable bar." The 
roof canvas was simply laid on the webbing and 
stitched to it but carried no strain other than its own 
weight. Textile Sec to QMCTC Sec, OQMG, 3 May 
45, sub: New Type Tent Construction, 424.1. 

171 (1) Col Dill, Rpt on Observations in SWPA 
and POA, Oct-Dec 1944. (2) Ltr, Gen Doriot, 
OQMG, to Hq ASF, 21 Mar 45, sub: Modified Squad 
Tent, 424.1. 

172 (1) 7th ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 19 May 45, on 
ltr, Gen Doriot to Hq ASF, 21 Mar 45, sub: Modified 
Squad Tent. (2) QMCTC, min of mtg No. 9, 8 May 
45. Both in 424.1. 

175 ( 1 ) Memo, Hq ASF for TQMG, 1 1 Nov 44, 
sub: Substitute for Duck. (2) Ltr, Hq ASF to TQMG, 
5 Dec 44, sub: Substitutes for Tents. 

174 (1) R&D Br, Project Record SD 4-45, Jan 45, 
sub: Substitute for Tents. (2) R&D Br, Status Rpts, 
31 Jan-31 Jul 45, heading, Substitute for Tents. 

175 Ltr, OQMG to Hq ASF, 10 Mar 45, sub: Sub- 
stitute for Tents, 400.112. 

176 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 30jun 
45, sub: Portable Squad Shelter. (2) QMCTC, min of 
mtg. No. 14, 2 Jul 45. (3) 1st ind, Hq ASF to 
TQMG, 16 Jul 45, on ltr, OQMG to ASF, 11 Jul 45, 
sub: Portable Squad Shelter. 



Libya, and in the summer of 1942 Headquar- 
ters, Armored Force, Fort Knox, Ky., requested 
standardization of a blackout maintenance shel- 
ter at an early date. 177 It was recommended that 
the tent be made large enough to accommodate 
a medium M3 tank or a 2V^-ton truck without 
interference from uprights or ridge pole. 

Headquarters, SOS, directed The Quarter- 
master General to initiate a project for develop- 
ing such a tent. 178 The Jeffersonville Depot 
manufactured a tent according to the proposed 
military characteristics. The tent was suspended 
over a steel frame to eliminate interior poles 
that might interfere with maintenance work. A 
9-by-10-foot opening was provided in the tent 
roof to enable cranes located outside the tent to 
raise or lower heavy parts of equipment. In 
order that the tent might be used for other pur- 
poses than motor repair, this opening was 
equipped with heavy-duty slide fasteners. A 
number of the maintenance shelter tents were 
tested and found satisfactory by the Armored 
Force Board. The tent was standardized on 24 
July 1943. 179 

Sectional Hospital Tent 

One other feature introduced in tent con- 
struction during World War II was the use of a 
liner. The value of a layer of dead air as an in- 
sulator had long been well known, but prior to 
1943 no attempt had been made to use a light- 
weight liner 180 to trap an insulating body of air 
beneath the roof of a tent. Troops operating in 
hot climates had discovered the merits of this 
principle and some had improvised their own 
insulating liners from salvaged parachute cloth. 
A liner was particularly needed in hospital tents, 
and when a developmental project was initiated 
in 1944 to modify the existing hospital ward 
tent, a white liner made of 4-ounce cotton 
sheeting to cover the entire inside of the tent 
was incorporated in the newly designed section- 

al hospital tent, standardized on 7 July of that 
year. 181 

The sectional hospital tent unit was rectan- 
gular in shape. Supported by a web frame, the 
tent was constructed so that a complete end sec- 
tion, including roof, side walls, and blackout 
doors, could be detached from the main body. 
Additional center sections could be added to ex- 
tend the tent to any desired length. At the time 
of standardization it was the intent of the 
QMCTC to utilize the sectional tent to replace 
all miscellaneous tentage. Any of the special 
purpose tents, including the squad tent, could 
be constructed by adding or removing sections. 
Because of the stringency of the duck supply in 
the summer of 1944, however, it was inadvis- 
able to make this change. The goal of standard- 
ization in tentage, therefore, could not be 
achieved and remained a postwar objective. 

These selected items of tentage by no means 
included all developmental projects on tents. 
The QMC devoted considerable attention to 
the development of such tents as the command 
post tent and the surgical operating tent for the 
Medical Department. Discussion has been 
limited, however, to only such developmental 
projects as contributed to basic changes in the 

177 Ltr, Hq Armored Force to CG ASF, 11 Aug 42, 
sub: Proposed Mil Characteristics and Request for 
Standardization of Blackout Maint Shelter, 424.1. 

178 2d ind, Hq SOS to TQMG, 25 Sep 42, on above 
ltr, 424.1. 

119 (I) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 18 Jun 
43, sub: Maint Shelter Tent with Frame. (2) 4th ind, 
Hq ASF, 24 Jul 43, on ltr, Hq AAF to TQMG, 24 Jun 
43, same sub. Both in 424.1. 

180 A washable liner of tent twill, coated white, had 
been used in the heavy operating surgical tent, but 
was intended chiefly for sanitation purposes and to 
reflect and diffuse light within the operating chamber. 

181 (1) Ltr, Brig Gen R. W. Bliss, SGO, to TQMG, 
2 Mar 44, sub: Hospital Ward Tent. (2) Memo, Col 
Doriot for QMCTC, 1 Jun 44, sub: Tents. (3) 
QMCTC, min of mtg No. 10, 6 Jun 44. (4) Ltr, Col 
Doriot, OQMG, to CG ASF, 10 Jun 44, sub: Section- 
al Tent, and 3d ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 7 Jul 44, on 
same. All in 424.1. 



design of tents or to the trend toward standard- 


In the years between World Wars I and II, 
War Department appropriations permitted 
scant allowance for continued research in the 
field of personal and organizational equipment. 
At the same time the existence of large stocks 
left on hand from World War I tended to stifle 
initiative toward new designs, particularly in 
the relatively simple items of personal equip- 
ment. The American soldier went to war in 
1941 equipped, for the most part, with items 
familiar to the doughboy in 1918. The larger 
part of the funds made available to the QMC 
for developmental work in these years was chan- 
neled into the field of automotive equipment, 
enabling the Army to enter World War II 
equipped with the 2 V^-ton 6x6 truck and the 
jeep, two of the major contributions of the 
Corps to the winning of the war. 

The nature of the war placed initial emphasis 
on the development of special items of person- 
al equipment as well as specialized clothing. 
Immediate attention therefore was given to the 
development of a jungle pack and other items 
for the use of jungle troops, and such gear as 
rucksacks and arctic sleeping bags for troops op- 
erating in Alaska. The ultimate trend in this 
field, however, as in the development of cloth- 
ing, was toward the use of standard items of 
equipment by all troops, with specialized gear 
developed only for use by troops operating un- 
der extremes of climatic conditions. 

While the demands of war required the de- 
velopment of many new items, such as carriers 
for new types of ammunition and tools, the 
QMC emphasized a program of simplification 
which would make one item serve the purpose 
of several, thereby simplifying the problem of 
supply. Thus the M-1943 shovel, pick-mattock, 
and ax were intended to be replaced by the new 

combination intrenching tool developed late in 
the war. In the field of organizational equip- 
ment, the sectional tent was designed to replace 
all miscellaneous tentage. 

Unfortunately, the program of simplification 
was often nullified by other factors. The strin- 
gency of the duck supply in the case of tents, 
for example, prohibited changes in procurement 
to effect the standardization desired by the 
QMC. Similarly, the immediate war needs in 
1942 resulted in the initiation of procurement 
of old-style items of equipment which continued 
to be used throughout World War II. 

The QMC came to place primary emphasis 
upon reduction in the weight of equipment 
which it designed. The Germans had been par- 
ticularly successful in this field because of the 
large supply of aluminum available to them. 
The QMC, handicapped by a lack of that light- 
weight metal, was forced to work with substi- 
tutes. As a consequence, the objectives of weight 
reduction and conservation of critical raw ma- 
terials were frequently in conflict. The use of 
substitute metals resulted in an increase in the 
weight of the field range, for example, which 
could be lessened only when improvement in 
the metal situation in the late summer of 1944 
permitted the Corps to return to the use of alu- 
minum and stainless steel. This factor of weight 
was particularly important in mobile equip- 
ment of various types. The original models had 
all proved too heavy and slow for use in mod- 
ern warfare. These handicaps were overcome by 
the use of aluminum, as in the new refrigerated 
semitrailer, or by substituting for the van-tvpe 
semitrailer with repair machinery installed in 
it, a one-ton two-wheel cargo trailer in which 
the machinery was boxed and compactly ar- 
ranged for transit but set up in tents or build- 
ings for operation. Factors of weight and com- 
pactness became increasingly important during 
the war as the use of supply by air increased. 
The capacity of being transported by air came 
to be accepted as a necessary military character- 



istic of Quartermaster organizational equip- 
ment during World War II. 

Standardization, simplification, and weight 
reduction were the major trends in the develop- 
ment of equipment. These, however, had to be 
achieved within the limits of the prevailing pro- 
gram of conservation of critical materials and of 
adjustments necessary to achieve and maintain 

the maximum production needed for winning 
the war. As a consequence, immediate procure- 
ment could not always be initiated for an item 
of equipment developed by the QMC. Critical 
reports from the field led to efforts to improve 
existing items of equipment. More often than 
not the final improvement came too late to see 
service in the field during World War II. 


The Development of Subsistence 

Food supplied by the Quartermaster Corps to 
the Army is called subsistence. It has always 
been among the most important items of mili- 
tary supply. Food must be adequate in quantity, 
varied enough to provide all the ingredients of 
a properly balanced diet, and acceptable to the 
soldier. To furnish energy his diet must contain 
fats and carbohydrates; to build and repair his 
body it must provide proteins and minerals. At 
the same time his food must have sufficient vita- 
mins and bulk to foster health. The regular 
serving of palatable food is the greatest single 
factor in building and maintaining high spirit 
and morale. 

In time of peace supplying the United States 
Army with food was a relatively simple task. In 
the years between the two world wars, the 
strength of the Army was less than 200,000 
men. Small groups of soldiers were located at 
scattered, permanent stations, and it was con- 
venient for each post, camp, or station to pur- 
chase its own food. Perishables were obtained 
from local sources, while nonperishable foods 
were bought by the depots for direct delivery in 
regular quantities. The Army prescribed the use 
of a garrison ration in peacetime for all persons 
entitled to it, the ration being "the allowance of 
food for subsistence of one person for one 
day." 1 It consisted of thirty-nine components, 
the quality of which was prescribed by federal 
specifications. These components included not 
only the meat, vegetables, fruit, dairy products, 
and beverages served at mealtimes but also the 

ingredients used in their preparation. This ra- 
tion, however, was not issued in kind but was 
a money credit based on the cost of a definite 
quantity and quality of specified subsistence 
items, both perishable and nonperishable. 
Using this credit, organization commanders 
might purchase a wide variety of subsistence 
items to provide a balanced diet. The ration per- 
mitted what was called a ration savings privi- 
lege, permitting any savings from the money 
credit of a certain month or period to be carried 
over for subsequent use. It could be used by the 
officer in charge of an organization mess to pro- 
vide supplemental food and beverages on special 
occasions. Under this system the commissary 
of a post, camp, or station was organized to 
provide daily a wide variety of subsistence items 
in accordance with the individual wishes of or- 
ganization commanders. Such supply offered no 
problems of research for the QMC. 

In time of national emergency and war, how- 
ever, the garrison ration system was not used. 
Instead, the Army prescribed the items of food 
to be issued for consumption on a certain day 
or during a prescribed period of time, both as 
to variety and quantity. Each messing organiza- 
tion drew its share of the prescribed food items 
and prepared menus accordingly. The compo- 
nents of the field ration had to be diversified to 
meet existing conditions of supply, availability 
of transportation, storage space, and messing 

AR 30-2210, Sec. I, par. 1, 15 Mar 40, sub: Rat. 



facilities available to the consuming organiza- 

Only four of the field rations of World War 
II existed in 1939, but considerable confusion 
over ration nomenclature had developed by that 
time. To clarify the situation a subcommittee of 
the Quartermaster Corps Technical Committee 
in the fall of that year proposed the substitution 
of the single term "field ration" for all old 
names, and the use of letters to distinguish 
among them. Consequently, the field ration was 
classified into four types — A, B, the then new 
C, and D. 2 Each was intended for issue in a 
given military situation. This nomenclature was 
used throughout World War II but was greatly 
expanded during the war years by the addition 
of a number of other rations, such as the jungle, 
mountain, five-in-one, ten-in-one, and K rations. 
Additional special rations were developed for 
the Air Corps. 

Although it was once customary for armies 
to subsist at least partly "on the country," sup- 
plementing basic supplies by foraging, most 
modern armies, including that of the United 
States, found it necessary to use field rations for 
feeding their troops in combat zones. Regard- 
less of the military situation, American troops 
had to be fed. The fact, also, that during World 
War II they were widely distributed in many 
areas of varying climatic conditions, thousands 
of miles and many days away from the home 
source of supply, introduced other elements 
which had to be considered in subsistence re- 
search. The development of adequate rations 
posed problems ranging from the maintenance 
of their nutritional adequacy to their acceptabil- 
ity, utility, and stability, despite prolonged ship- 
ment and storage under a variety of adverse 

In addition, Quartermaster subsistence per- 
sonnel were concerned with problems of pack- 
aging and packing and the conservation of 
shipping. The limited amount of shipping 
space dictated the use of such-techniques of food 

processing as dehydration, while the need to 
reduce the weight carried by soldiers, particu- 
larly members of special task forces, necessitated 
processing food so that it would occupy the 
smallest amount of space and yet provide the 
required nutritional values. An emergency food 
supply might be compressed into special choco- 
late bars. Military requirements imposed by war 
could not be satisfied by the extremely short 
shelf life and simplicity of packaging character- 
istic of commercial products. Hence foods of 
long shelf life which maintained their nutri- 
tional value, vitamin content, and palatability 
had to be developed. Moreover, foods had to be 
packaged to afford protection from the ele- 
ments, rough handling, gas contamination, and 
insect infestation. The solution of these prob- 
lems formed a vital phase of subsistence supply. 

Administrative Background 

Administrative responsibility for research and 
developmental activity in subsistence and in its 
packaging and packing was subjected to a num- 
ber of changes in the opening years of World 
War II. When the war began, all responsibilities 
for subsistence, including research in this field, 
were centralized in a Subsistence Branch within 
the Supply Division. A Subsistence Research 
Laboratory, 3 established in Chicago in the sum- 

2 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 15 Sep 
39, sub: Fid Rat. (2) 2d ind, TAG to TQMG, 1 Nov 
39, on memo, Brig Gen A. B. Warfield, OQMG, for 
TAG, 5 Oct 39, no sub. (3) See Harold W. Thatcher, 
The Development of Special Rations for the Army (QMC 
Historical Studies 6, September 1944), pp. 7-8. Here- 
after cited as Thatcher, Special Rations. 

5 The laboratory will be referred to by this name 
although after its reorganization in February 1944 it 
was renamed the Subsistence Research and Develop- 
ment Laboratory. In the postwar period, after 1 March 
1946, it became known as the Quartermaster Food and 
Container Institute for the Armed Forces. (2) For an 
extended account see Walter Porges, The Subsistence 
Research Laboratory (CQMD Historical Studies 1, 
1 May 1943). 



mer of 1936, gave the Subsistence Branch 
technical advice, carried on research and devel- 
opment for rations and subsistence items, and 
prepared specifications governing their procure- 
ment. Responsibility for subsistence had for 
many years been vested in an independent Sub- 
sistence Department, which was absorbed by 
the QMC in 1912 and was thereafter organized 
on an integrated commodity basis, first as the 
Subsistence Branch and then as a division. Thus 
a tradition of autonomy was fostered, which 
conditioned many of the organization's adminis- 
trative relationships during the war. 4 By Decem- 
ber 1942, in line with the functional reorganiza- 
tion of the OQMG, responsibility for research 
and developmental activity in subsistence had 
been transferred to the Research and Develop- 
ment Branch of the Military Planning Division. 5 
By reason of its membership in the Subsistence 
Research Project Board, however, the Sub- 
sistence Branch continued to maintain an active 
interest in research. 

The Subsistence Research Laboratory re- 
mained administratively a division of the Chi- 
cago Quartermaster Depot, but after December 
a Subsistence Section in the Research and De- 
velopment Branch of the Military Planning Di- 
vision became responsible for assigning projects 
to, and directing the technical activities of, the 
laboratory. From the fall of 1944 the director 
of the laboratory also acted -as chief of the 
Subsistence Section. 6 

Insofar as research in the packaging and pack- 
ing of subsistence was concerned, responsibility 
in 1939 was distributed among several offices 
within the QMC. The distinction between 
packaging and packing was not always clearly 
drawn, but, officially, packaging contained the 
product itself and frequently was designed along 
with the product. Packaging was usually ac- 
complished at the production point. Packing 
referred to the exterior or shipping container. 7 
Initially research in subsistence packaging was 
carried out by the Subsistence Branch, OQMG, 

and the Subsistence Research Laboratory at 
Chicago. As in the case of subsistence research, 
by December 1942 responsibility for it was 
vested in the Research and Development 
Branch of the Military Planning Division. Re- 
sponsibility for packing, on the other hand, was 
transferred from the Standardization Branch to 
the Depot Division early in 1942 and in July of 
that year was vested in the Storage and Distri- 
bution Division where it remained during the 
war years. 8 

Because the facilities of the Subsistence Re- 
search Laboratory for research on, and testing 
of, packaging and packing were limited, the 
Military Planning Division early in 1943 made 
arrangements to set up a physical testing labora- 
tory, called the Washington Package Research 
and Development Laboratory, at the Washing- 
ton Quartermaster Depot in Cameron, Va., for 
conducting research on the packaging and pack- 
ing of all Quartermaster supplies. The testing 
of materials and the interpretation of the results 
were the joint responsibility of the Military 
Planning Division and the Storage and Dis- 
tribution Division. 9 Functions were divided be- 
tween this laboratory and the Subsistence Re- 

4 See above, Ch. I, section on Evolution of Func- 
tional-Commodity Type Organization. 

s OQMG OO 25-24, 14 Dec 42, sub: Subs R&D 

6 ( 1 ) Activities Report of the QM Food and Con- 
tainer Institute for the Armed Forces, Vol. I, No. 3 
(August, 1948), 298-99. (2) CQMD Activity Rpt, 
1-15 Oct 44. 

7 ASF Cir 29, 13 May 43, sub: Staff Responsibility 
for Packaging and Packing. 

8 ( 1 ) OQMG OO 48, 20 Feb 42, sub: Asgmt of 
Responsibilities to Depot Div. (2) OQMG OO 184, 
31 Jul 42, sub: Reasgmt of QMC Functions. Under 
this order the Depot Division became the Depot 
Operations Branch of the Storage and Distribution 
Division. (3) It was subsequently renamed the Storage 
Branch, OQMG OO 25-38, 31 May 43, sub: Establish- 
ment of Storage Br, S&D Div. 

9 Ltr, Col G. F. Doriot, OQMG, to Reqmts Div, 
SOS, 12 Mar 43, sub: Packaging Program, and 2d ind, 
Brig Gen W. A. Wood, Jr., Hq SOS, to TQMG, 1 Apr 
43, on same. 



search Laboratory to eliminate any duplication 
of research activities in this field. 10 

Efforts to develop food products for military 
use were centered at the Subsistence Research 
Laboratory. Starting as a small, ill-equipped, 
understaffed organization in 1941, the labora- 
tory added more people and equipment as its 
activities increased during the war. In the early 
part of the war the laboratory's facilities were 
adequate for rather rough storage, utilization, 
and acceptability testing and for chemical, bac- 
teriological, and vitamin evaluations. Subse- 
quently additional equipment enabled it to 
perform more refined testing of all these as well 
as to undertake other developmental work. 

For lack of time the results of a true research 
program could neither be established nor 
utilized during the war. Although a consider- 
able body of technological and production 
knowledge and skill existed in industry, it had 
not been related to military requirements for 
food products, which, in any case, were being 
determined as the war progressed. During the 
first two years of the war, the laboratory was 
occupied with learning the latest production 
methods and applying these to the manufacture 
of products which would meet military needs. 
In the last two years of the war, the laboratory, 
with more people, increased facilities, and added 
knowledge and experience, was able to concen- 
trate to a large extent on the development of 
new and more satisfactory products and more 
suitable rations. Its achievements were always, 
attained with the wholehearted co-operation of 
industry, whose contributions to the develop- 
ment of Army subsistence are too numerous for 
detailed discussion. 

In carrying out its mission the laboratory acted 
"as the hitherto missing military link between 
research groups and production groups." u 
University laboratories, as well as the facilities 
of industry, were called upon to assist in the 
solution of technical problems involved in de- 
veloping food for Army use. Such assistance was 

early sought by the Subsistence Branch, 
OQMG, and was continued under contractual 
arrangements by the Subsistence Section of the 
Research and Development Branch, OQMG, 
after December 1942. Many universities and 
colleges contributed to subsistence research 
either through direct contact with the QMC 
concerning special problems referred to them, 
or as a result of experimentation undertaken in 
conjunction with various bureaus of the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, its experimental stations, 
and its regional research laboratories. 

In addition to dealing with food and food 
packaging concerns and with university groups, 
the QMC also had connections with other serv- 
ice laboratories interested in similar problems, 
such as the Medical Nutrition Laboratory of the 
Office of The Surgeon General and the Aero 
Medical Research Laboratory at Wright Field. 
To these must be added the informal and for- 
mal relationships with a number of other gov- 
ernment agencies, among them the Department 
of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Serv- 
ice of the Department of Interior. The achieve- 
ments made in subsistence research during the 
war therefore represented the cumulative knowl- 
edge and co-operative efforts of all these organ- 
izations, both public and private. 

The Development of Special Rations 

The Subsistence Research Laboratory was 
concerned chiefly with the development of 
rations designed for use under operational con- 
ditions. Packaged operational rations were 
required not only for troops in actual contact 
with the enemy but for those cut off from their 

10 (1) Ltr, B. E. Proctor, Chief of Subs Sec OQMG, 
to Dr. J. H. White, Actg Dir SRL, 14 Apr 44, sub: 
Asgmt of Responsibilities and Functions. (2) Harold 
W. Thatcher, Packaging and Packing of Subsistence for 
the Army (QMC Historical Studies 10, April 1945), 
p. 16. Hereafter cited as Thatcher, Packaging and 

1 ' Activities Report of the Quartermaster Food and 
Container Institute, Vol. I, No. 3 (August 1948), 298. 



normal source of supply or advancing so rapidly 
that their field kitchens could not keep pace 
with them. The problem of feeding soldiers in 
such situations was not new, but modern war- 
fare, with its emphasis on mobile units, para- 
chute-troop action, commando raids, and rapid 
armored advances, broadened this subsistence 

Even during the relatively immobile warfare 
of World War I, several special rations were 
used, such as the reserve ration, the trench 
ration developed in 1918, and the emergency 
ration, popularly known as the "Armour 
ration" or "iron ration." 12 In the years follow- 
ing this war the QMC made efforts to improve 
the reserve ration, but ration planning during 
this period was for the most part an academic 
exercise. The history of subsistence research 
parallels that of other Quartermaster items of 
supply in that lack of funds and personnel 
during the interlude of peace narrowly limited 
developmental activity. After the mid-thirties 
interest in preparation for national defense 
began to revive, and by the outbreak of war 
new field rations C and D had been developed 
to replace the obsolete reserve and emergency 
rations then officially in use. As a result of the 
lack of interest in ration planning between the 
two world wars, however, the Corps was com- 
pelled to solve the ration problem hurriedly 
and under pressure during World War II, a 
procedure that emphasized the necessity for a 
program of continuous research. 

In the development of packaged rations the 
Subsistence Research Laboratory had to take 
into account factors which were often in con- 
flict. Whatever the military or individual 
requirements were, they could be satisfied only 
within the limitations of the availability of the 
nation's food supply. Out of experience the 
laboratory eventually formulated four requisites 
for a satisfactory ration: acceptability, nutri- 
tional adequacy, stability, and military utility. 13 

The particular kind of ration needed depended 

on the military operation in which it was to be 
used, but in general any ration had to be 
"economical of space and weight in transporta- 
tion and storage, of facilities and labor in 
unloading, carrying, issue, preparation, and con- 
sumption." l4 Eleven special rations l5 were 
standardized to meet specific tactical situations 
during World War II. These included types of 
rations designed for survival, combat, and group 
feeding, from which the following illustrative 
examples have been drawn for analysis. 

D Ration— Survival Type 

One of the subsistence problems confronting 
the QMC was that of issuing food for the 
individual survivor who could not get or expect 
outside help. In World War I this problem had 
been met by the use of the Armour ration, 
issued as an individual emergency ration. This 
was replaced in World War II by the D ration, 
which had been developed before the outbreak 
of the war. 

Field ration D was strictly an emergency 
ration. As a result of an OQMG directive, work 
on it was begun in 1935 by Capt. Paul P. 
Logan, then head of the Subsistence School in 
Chicago. 16 This work was completed by 1937. 

12 Porges, The Subsistence Research Laboratory, pp. 

13 SR&DL, A Report of Wartime Problems in Sub- 
sistence Research and Development (13 vols projected 
by Quartermaster Food and Container Institute for the 
Armed Forces), Vol. XII, Ration Development, prepared 
by Capt John P. Samuels et a/., June 1947, pp. 4-5. 
Hereafter cited as SR&DL, Ration Development. 

14 Ibid., p. 5. 

15 These were as follows: field rations D, C, K, and 
ten-in-one; the life raft, parachute emergency, and life- 
boat rations, which were of emergency character; and 
the hospital supplement, aid station beverage pack, 
kitchen spice pack, and aircrew lunch, which were 
considered supplemental in nature. 

16 (1) Ltr, Lt Col Paul P. Logan, OQMG, to Col 
Gillespie, Fort Lewis, Wash., 1 May 41, no sub, 430.2. 
(2) Porges, The Subsistence Research Laboratory, 
Appendix IV, ltr to Col R. A. Isker, OIC SRL, 26 Apr 
43, no sub. 



The D ration was the result of hundreds of 
experiments in combining chocolate, the basic 
ingredient, with different cereals. In the begin- 
ning developmental work was based on the 
theory that an emergency ration should not be 
palatable lest it be consumed before an emer- 
gency arose. Subsequently, at the instigation of 
G-4 of the general staff, palatability was made 
a requisite in order that the D ration might also 
be used to supplement other food, such as 
reserve and regular field rations, in the theaters 
of operations. 17 

In the end a palatable 4-ounce bar, contain- 
ing 600 calories, was developed. The chief 
ingredients were chocolate, sugar, oat flour, 
cocoa fat, skim milk powder, and artificial 
flavoring. The chocolate was unique in that it 
was stabilized to a high melting point; it could 
withstand temperatures up to 120° F. Except 
for minor changes in ingredients and in forti- 
fication of the chocolate with vitamin B,, 18 no 
changes were made in the formula for the D 
ration during World War II. A ration consisted 
of three of these bars with a total weight of 12 
ounces and a total caloric content of 1,800. 19 
This new ration was always regarded as one to 
be used strictly as a last resort, and then for 
only a brief period covering very few meals. 
The caloric content was therefore deemed ade- 
quate for such a stop-gap use. 

In the summer of 1937 the new ration was 
tested on a reasonably large scale in the field 
and provision was also made for storage testing. 
The results of both proved favorable. Having 
passed its early tests successfully, the "Logan 
bar," as it was popularly called, was recom- 
mended for standardization in the fall of 1938. 20 

In addition to being used as a separate meal 
in emergencies, the D ration was used as a com- 
ponent of other Army rations. A two-ounce D 
bar was included as a part of one of the meals 
of the new K ration. It remained a component 
of the supper unit of this ration. It was also 
included in the "bail-out ration" of the Army 

Air Corps and in one of the menus of the ten- 
in-one ration when the latter was standardized 
in the late spring of 1943. 

The D ration fulfilled the most rigid Army 
requirements for minimum space and weight. 
From the standpoint of energy yield it was an 
especially good food source. Experience indi- 
cated, however, that the D bar was not com- 
pletely satisfactory even when used as a means 
of survival. While many soldiers found it useful 
as a concentrated, tasty, and quick means of 
acquiring energy, it produced nausea in some 
cases and it made men thirsty. This disadvan- 
tage alone made use of it inadvisable if drink- 
ing water was limited in supply. 21 

Although it had been developed as a strictly 
survival food item, the D bar was used exten- 
sively to supplement C and K rations. Men ate 
it as candy or used it for making hot chocolate. 
Kitchens utilized it in baking pies and cakes 
and in making puddings and cocoa. 22 Similarly, 
in the Southwest Pacific Area, the D ration was 
"rarely issued, except as a supplement to 'C 
Ration." 2i 

In this area, certain defects were particularly 
noticed. D bars stored in hot, dry places were 
subject to crumbling, a process that was pre- 
ceded by the appearance of a white "bloom" on 

17 Ibid. 

18 (1) Ltr, Maj J. J. Powers, OQMG, to CO 
CQMD, 24 Jul 40, sub: Addition of Thiamin Chloride 
to Type D Rat, 400.112. (2) For a fuller account of 
the development of the D ration as well as other spe- 
cial rations see Thatcher, Special Rations, pp. 4-15. 

19 Col Rohland A. Isker, "Army Foods— Army 
Menus," QMR, XXXII (July-August 1942), 90. 

20 ( 1 ) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 9 Nov 
38, sub: Further Consideration of Emergency Rat. (2) 
QMCTC, min of mtg 6, 18 Nov 38. Both in 400.112. 

21 SR&DL, Ration Development, p. 62. 

22 (1) Asst for Product Analysis to Sub Sec, 
OQMG, 24 Apr 45, sub: Rpt 18-Hq ComZ, ETO, 
OofCQM, 5 Mar, signed Littlejohn. (2) Same to same, 
8 Feb 45, sub: Rations, extract from QM Fid Obsn 
Rpt 5, Maj Gen R. L. Littlejohn. 

25 Memo, Maj Carl R. Fellers for CO QM Subs 
Depot, USASOS, 3 Sep 43, sub: US Army Rat 
D, RAC ORB AFWESPAC QM Sec 430.2 Rat. 



the surface of the bar. This bloom was a crys- 
tallization of the fat mixed with oat flour and 
powdered milk in the bar itself. It did not 
impair the food value of the ration, and, even 
when crumbled, the D bar was still acceptable 
for use in cocoa. 

The D ration, developed before World War 
II began, was available for immediate issue. 
During the war other types of survival rations 
were developed, particularly for the Army Air 
Forces. The Subsistence Research Laboratory, 
working in co-operation with the Aero Medical 
Laboratory, developed several different food 
units, such as the life raft ration and the para- 
chute ration, for inclusion in Air Forces kits. 

C Ration— Combat Type 

While the D ration was the first modern 
emergency ration, it was not designed to fill the 
need for a nutritionally balanced combat ration, 
which could be readily carried by the soldier, 
and which would provide three satisfying meals 
a day, independent of outside sources of supply 
and of central messing facilities. 

When the Subsistence Research Laboratory 
began in 1937 to study the problem of the com- 
bat-reserve ration, it was interested primarily in 
revising the existing reserve ration. Not until 
March 1938 did this study take a new turn. 
Then the director of the laboratory became con- 
vinced that "some system of individual carrying 
of rations must be devised immediately." 24 By 
June the main features of a new combat ration 
had been worked out, and the director enthu- 
siastically described this revolutionary develop- 
ment to the OQMG. Packed in three cans, the 
ration, having a weight of 36 ounces and pro- 
viding 4,200 calories, had "all the vitamins, fuel 
and regulating foods, and is far better in edi- 
bility and palatability than any meal that can be 
cooked in a peacetime Army mess, let alone a 
rolling kitchen in gas and shell attack." 25 

Two forms of the ration were proposed: one 

for general use on a campaign and the other, a 
more Spartan diet, to be consumed under actual 
combat conditions. The latter consisted of two 
cans containing the meat and vegetable com- 
ponents, one 12-ounce can containing 8 ounces 
of bran cereal, a 3-ounce chocolate jam bar, 
and 1 ounce of soluble coffee. In September the 
ration was shown to members of the General 
Staff and representatives of the Navy and 
Marine Corps. All were keenly interested. The 
OQMG, however, felt that the caloric value of 
the ration ought to be checked and increased 
and directed the laboratory to undertake further 
study along these lines. 26 

The laboratory soon discovered that the total 
of 4,200 calories claimed for the ration was 
based on a miscalculation of the nutritional 
value of the chocolate jam bars. The actual 
caloric content of the three cans was only 
slightly more than 2,000. Since it was not fea- 
sible to increase this content to the required 
amount, the only alternative was to include 
more cans in the ration. The laboratory there- 
fore recommended that the ration be composed 
of six 12-ounce cans. Three of them would con- 
tain meat and vegetable components. These 
were later designated as the M unit. The other 
three, subsequently called the B unit, would 
contain bread, coffee, and sugar components. 
The total would have a caloric content of 3,348. 
By the addition of 8 ounces of the chocolate 
emergency ration, called the D bar, this content 
could be raised to approximately 4,500 calories. 27 

In the fall of 1938 the QMCTC approved a 
subcommittee recommendation that this ration 

24 (1) Ltr, Maj W. R. McReynolds, SRL, to Capt 
Logan, OQMG, 24 Mar 38, no sub, SRL File 430.02 
Combat Rat. (2) For a full account of the early devel- 
opment of the C ration see Porges, The Subsistence Re- 
search Laboratory, pp. 53ff. 

25 Ltr, Maj McReynolds, SRL, to Capt Logan, 
OQMG, 3 Jun 38, no sub, SRL File 430.02 Combat 

26 Ltr, Capt O. E. Cound, OQMG, to CO CQMD, 
18 Sep 38, sub: Combat Rat, 400.112. 

27 SRL, Research Rpt 95, 15 Oct 38, 400.112. 



be considered as a replacement for the reserve 
ration, and that it be developed until completely 
perfected. 28 In the meantime the Subsistence 
Research Laboratory had been investigating ex- 
isting commercial products for possible use in 
the M unit, but these were rejected because of 
their poor quality. By the summer of 1939 the 
laboratory was ready to report its findings to the 
OQMG. It listed ten varieties of the M unit it 
had developed as well as three types of biscuit 
for the B unit, all differing from each other in 
flavor and texture. The ration weighed 5 
pounds, 10 ounces, and contained 4,437 calories. 
At the same time the laboratory adopted the 
standard cylindrical sanitary can, holding about 
16 fluid ounces, for packaging the ration in lieu 
of the 12-ounce rectangular can which was no 
longer produced commercially in sufficient 
quantities to make large-scale procurement fea- 
sible. 29 

Developmental work had now reached the 
stage where the new reserve ration could be 
considered for adoption by the Army. In the 
fall of 1939 a subcommittee of the QMCTC, 
reviewing the whole field of ration nomencla- 
ture, recommended standardization of the new 
reserve or combat ration as field ration, type C. 
The ten varieties of the M unit, suggested in 
the June report of the Subsistence Research 
Laboratory, were reduced to three: beef stew, 
pork and beans, and meat hash. The B unit was 
confined to a single type, which included all 
three varieties of crackers developed by the lab- 
oratory. Subsequently, to simplify production 
line operation, a kind of biscuit known as the 
"C square biscuit" was substituted for these 
three types. Formal announcement of the adop- 
tion and standardization of the C ration was 

made by The Adjutant General on 1 November 

Standardization of the C ration was accom- 
plished before a field test was arranged. The first 
large-scale tests were conducted during the 1940 
maneuvers. The C ration was not unqualifiedly 

popular with the troops. The awkwardness and 
bulk of the containers made it almost impos- 
sible for the soldiers to carry a full day's rations. 
They wanted a flat, rectangular type of can, and 
recurrently expressed this preference during the 
war. 51 The men complained that there was an 
excessive quantity of food, that it lacked variety, 
and that in some instances it caused nausea. 32 
As a result, the size of the can was reduced in 
December 1940 to 12 ounces, and the amount 
of biscuits and coffee was also decreased. 33 At 
the same time there was added to the B unit a 
1-ounce chocolate bar. This was a type of fudge 
and not to be confused with the 1- or 2-ounce 
D bar previously suggested for inclusion. Later 
hard candy was substituted for the chocolate bar 
because it was felt that soldiers would and 
should carry hard candy to eat between meals. 

The Subsistence Research Laboratory engaged 
in extensive developmental work on the com- 

28 QMCTC, min of mtg 6, 18 Nov 38. 
29 SRL, Research Rpt 111, 21 Jun 39. 

30 (1) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 15 Sep 
39, sub: Fid Rat. (2) QMCTC, min of mtg 6, 28 Sep 

39. (3) 2d ind, TAG to TQMG, 1 Nov 39, on memo, 
Gen Warfield, Actg TQMG, for TAG, 5 Oct 39, no 

31 As late as the summer of 1945 an observer in the 
ETO reported: "Preference for the K ration over the 
C still continues, in spite of the fact that on several 
occasions new menus have been available to troops. 
This preference, it seems, is due to the bulkiness of 
the C ration and the difficulty encountered in carrying 
it. For example, during the two recent river crossings 
made in this area, those across the Rhine and the Roer, 
generally one ration was carried by the individual and 
this ration was predominately the K. ration. ... If 
the C ration were manufactured in a flat can approxi- 
mately the size of a K ration package, it would no 
doubt be more popular, especially as new menus be- 
come more plentiful." Hq ETO, OofCQM, Rpt 20, 
sub: Comments and Recommendations on QM Equip, 
ETO, n. d. (circa May 1945), 319.1 Sullivan Papers. 

32 (1) Memo, Maj McReynolds, QM Sec Third 
Army Depot, Alexandria, La., for TQMG, 22 May 40, 
no sub, 430.2. (2) Lt Col F. V. Hemenway, Hq Third 
Div, Ft Lewis, Wash., to CG Ninth Corps Area, 6 Jun 

40, sub: Test of Fid Rat, 400.1 12. 

33 2d ind, Col Logan, OQMG, to TAG, 16 Dec 40, 
on memo, Maj P. B. Mayson, Hq Fourth Corps Area, 
for TAG, 2 Dec 40, no sub. 



ponents of the C ration. It found most commer- 
cial canned meat products unsuitable for mili- 
tary use. The more satisfactory of them, such as 
pork luncheon meat, corned beef, and roast 
beef, were being used in the B ration. In formu- 
lating recipes for canned meat products and de- 
veloping processing methods, the laboratory at 
first emphasized nutritional adequacy and bal- 
ance. As it became apparent, however, that all 
nutritive factors could not be combined in a 
single product, palatability became the primary 
goal. 34 When satisfactory formulas had been 
evolved they were submitted to the OQMG. 

As previously stated, the ten different kinds 
of M unit suggested by the laboratory were re- 
duced to three at the time of standardization. 
The C ration had not been designed for contin- 
uous consumption over long periods of time. It 
was not to be issued for more than 72 hours 
and, within this limit, its three meat compo- 
nents were satisfactory. In actual theater opera- 
tions, however, the ration was frequently used 
for long periods. Instances were reported of sol- 
diers being fed the C ration for as long as 90 
days. Such prolonged wartime use had not been 
anticipated. In the summer of 1940 the Subsist- 
ence Branch had indicated that the ration was 
intended for use in emergencies in the forward 
areas of the combat zone, where it was imprac- 
ticable to use cooking or heating facilities. "The 
use of this ration will, therefore," it prophesied, 
"be very infrequent and consequently a large 
variety is not essential." 35 

The Subsistence Research Laboratory recog- 
nized that a greater variety of meat components 
was desirable, but variety had to be subordi- 
nated to other considerations. When the first 
large-scale procurement of the C ration was in- 
stituted in August 1941, it had to be confined 
largely to items available in great volume and 
from as many sources of supply as possible. 
Throughout the war there was a constant strug- 
gle in the canned-meats program between quan- 
tity and quality. The Subsistence Research Lab- 

oratory and the Subsistence Section of the 
Research and Development Branch, OQMG, 
were intent on widening the variety of canned 
meats for ration components, improving exist- 
ing commodities, developing new types, and 
attempting to get the more desirable into pro- 
duction. The buyer of canned meats at the 
Chicago Depot and the procurement agencies 
of the QMC generally were responsible, despite 
shortages of materials and labor, for filling pro- 
curement demands with nutritionally adequate 
products which could be obtained most simply, 
uniformly, and in the largest amounts. The buy- 
er was interested in quality but he tended to 
favor the products he was sure to get in suffi- 
cient amounts at the time desired. 36 

Even the limited variety of meats specified 
for the C ration, however, was greater than that 
sometimes received by the soldier in the field. 
The ration was supposed to be assembled with 
equal quantities of each meat component, but 
assemblers who had exhausted their stock of 
one meat unit would substitute one or two of 
the others. The result was that packed cases 
sometimes contained quantities of one or two 
meat units but none of the third. 37 

The monotony of the C ration, the first of the 
special rations perfected that contained meat, 
was heightened by the fact that its meat com- 
ponents, stew or hash, also appeared in the B 
ration. Such duplication was opposed in prin- 
ciple by the laboratory but this agency was not 
responsible for filling supply requirements. The 
factor of monotony was of minor importance to 

34 SR&DL, A Report of Wartime Problems in Sub- 
sistence Research and Development (13 vols projected 
by Quartermaster Food & Container Institute for the 
Armed Forces), Vol. XI, Meat Products, prepared by 
Capt Joseph Czarnecki et al.,)\x\y 1948, p. 61. Here- 
after cited as SR&DL, Meat Products. 

35 Subs Br to Chief of Sup Div, OQMG, 28 May 
40, no sub, 430.2. 

36 Marion Massen, Canned Meats Procurement for the 
Arnied Forces During World War II (CQMD Historical 
Studies, Rpt 7, March 1946), p. 295. 

37 SR&DL, Meat Products, p. 63. 



procurement personnel who were confronted 
with the many problems involved in providing 
canned meats in large quantities. As a conse- 
quence, the low degree of acceptability of such 
foods as canned hash and luncheon meat was 
repeatedly reported during World War II. 

The C ration retained its original form for 
several years of the war. Its three meat compo- 
nents underwent only minor revisions. In re- 
sponse to the changing supply situation, the 
grades, cuts, and proportions of the meat ingre- 
dients were changed. 38 An attempt was made 
to meet the criticism that the meat particles 
were ground too small by increasing their size 
from one half to three fourths of an inch. It was 
well into 1944, however, before automatic pack- 
ing of larger chunks of meat was at all success- 

By the spring of 1944 the need for an im- 
proved combat ration had become imperative. 
There had been an interminable use of stew and 
hash as staple B and C ration components. As a 
result of this overuse, complaints that the 
rations were unpalatable mounted steadily. In 
an effort to relieve the monotony the laboratory 
had developed in 1942 four additional meat 
units, but nothing came of them at the time. 39 
In December 1943, however, one new unit con- 
sisting of ground meat and spaghetti was added. 

Major changes in the C ration were made in 
the summer of 1944 when a new specification 40 
was issued providing for ten different kinds of 
meat units, including such items as chicken and 
vegetables; ham, egg, and potato; frankfurters 
and beans; and ham and lima beans. The M 
unit of meat and vegetable hash was dropped 
from the ration at this time. In April 1945 
the meat and vegetable stew also was replaced 
by a new type of beef stew. In an effort to in- 
sure that the variety provided by the new meat 
components would actually be made available 
to the men in the field, the new specification 
listed six specific menus along with packing 
schedules. These menus were rotated so that no 

one meat would appear more than four times 
in the same packing case. The ten components 
were to be procured in equal quantities. Un- 
fortunately, assemblers were again permitted by 
the Procurement Division to make substitu- 
tions when they ran out of certain components, 
and thus the procurement history of the old C 
ration was repeated in the new type. 41 

Although the most conspicuous of the 
changes in the C ration was the increased variety 
of the meat components, the B unit of the 
ration was also modified. To increase variety 
and acceptability the Subsistence Research Lab- 
oratory provided six B units. The bread com- 
ponent was changed by the use of three types 
of biscuits or crackers rather than the standard 
C biscuit. Although crackers were still used, 
pending the outcome of studies on canned 
bread, the inclusion of jam components in the 
new C ration made them more palatable. In ad- 
dition, several new confections were included to 
relieve the former emphasis on hard candy. 

The original beverage of the C ration was 
soluble coffee, which was included in each of 
the three B unit cans. By the summer of 1942 
a greater variety had been achieved in beverage 
components. It was decided that one of the B 
unit cans should contain soluble coffee, one 
cocoa beverage powder, and one the lemon 
powder which had also been used in the K 
ration. 42 The lemon juice powder, as well as 
other beverage crystals introduced later, carried 
ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). In theory three 
beverages were thus provided for the soldier, 
but the men in the field refused to use lemon 
powder, whether in C or K rations. There was 

38 Thatcher, Special Radons, pp. 26-27. 

39 Ibid., p. 28. These units consisted of ham, eggs, 
and potatoes; beef and noodles; ham and eggs; and 
meat and spaghetti. 

40 CQD 183, 28 June 44, sub: Rat, Type C, Assem- 
bly, Packaging, and Packing, 400.1141. 

41 SR&DL, Meat Products, pp. 69-70. 

4 - Ltr, Col Logan, OQMG, to CG CQMD, 30 Jun 
42, sub: Changes in the B Units of the Type C Rat, 



not always enough sugar to sweeten it, and 
whether it was sweet or sour, few men eating 
in the cold wanted a cold beverage. There were 
reports of its use as a cleaning agent for stoves 
or even as a hair rinse! A quartermaster of the 
2d Infantry Division noted: 

We used K ration lemon powder dissolved in 
buckets of water for scrubbing the floor when we 
were living in buildings, and it worked out excep- 
tionally well, cutting dirt spots and more or less 
bleaching the wooden floors. 43 

When the new specification for the C ration 
was published in April 1945, 44 synthetic lemon 
juice powder was eliminated. 

The new C ration was further improved by 
the addition of an accessory kit. Cigarettes and 
matches had been included in two of the B units 
since March 1943. They were now increased in 
quantity, and gum was also added. The useful- 
ness of toilet paper as an accessory item had 
been shown in the ten-in-one ration and was 
therefore now added to the new C ration. All 
of these items, including halazone tablets for 
purifying water, and a small can opener, were 
assembled in accessory packets which were 
made from foil laminated to kraft paper, and 
were inserted between the round cans when 
they were packed in shipping cases. 

Soldier opinion of the old C ration, as well 
as of all other rations, was expressed in a num- 
ber of reports, most of which were received by 
the QMC during the last year of the war. Ex- 
cerpts from some of these reports became avail- 
able to the Subsistence Research Laboratory, 
but soldier comments were apt to be too gen- 
eral and too conflicting in nature to be of much 
use as a guide to corrective action. The labora- 
tory was permitted to send very few technically 
trained observers overseas. Hence it did not 
know precisely what was being praised or criti- 
cized—under what specifications the item had 
been produced, whether or not it had deviated 
from specifications, how the item was issued or 

served, or other details necessary for guidance 
in further developmental work. Instead of prac- 
tical field experience the laboratory had often 
to rely upon its simulations of field conditions 
in taking corrective action on subsistence items. 
Insofar as the old C ration was concerned the 
reports showed that the biscuits of this ration 
were not very acceptable. Soldier comments re- 
flected a deep-seated dislike for hash, stew, and 
lemon juice powder. So powerful was the preju- 
dice against the C ration in the Pacific theaters 
that it was questionable whether the new type 
of C ration could overcome it. The Assistant for 
Product Analysis in the Research and Develop- 
ment Branch, OQMG, suggested the desirabil- 
ity of changing the labeling or the packaging 
of the new ration to eliminate this handicap. 45 
When the new C ration began to reach the 
field, however, it was praised very highly, lead- 
ing one observer to conclude that "the simplic- 
ity of supplying and preparing C ration, the ac- 
ceptability of its new components, and the 
filling properties of this ration as modified, all 
insure it a leading role in future operations." 46 

K Ration— Assault Phase 

The C ration was a combat ration but the 
combat situation had to be sufficiently stable to 
permit daily resupply. When the soldier was 
actually fighting, as in the assault phase of com- 
bat, he required a different type of ration. For 

43 (1) Hq ETO, OofCQM, QM Fid Observation 
Rpt 14, 1-7 Jan 45, 319.1 Sullivan Papers. (2) See 
also Lt Col D. B. Dill to Dir of Mil Ping Div, OQMG, 
Rpt on Travel to NATO, 26 Oct- 13 Dec 43. 

44 CQD 183B, 12 Apr 45, sub: Rat, Type C, Assem- 
bly, Packaging and Packing, 400.1141. 

45 Asst for Product Analysis to Subs Sec, OQMG, 
23 Nov 44, sub: C Rat. 

46 (1) Col Dill, Rpt on Observation in SWP and 
POA, Oct-Dec 44. (2) USAFFE Bd Rpt 138, 29 Mar 
45, sub: QM Bull #11 (Rat). (3) See also the 
voluminous analysis of observers' and soldiers' com- 
ments by the Assistant for Product Analysis on file in 
the R&D Br, OQMG. 



this situation the Subsistence Research Labo- 
ratory developed the K ration. 

Although the laboratory had been experi- 
menting in 1940 and 1941 with pemmican as 
the chief ingredient of a ration for mobile 
troops, the origin of the K ration dates from 
June 1941 when the Chief of Infantry request- 
ed the development of a ration which could be 
carried in the pockets of paratroopers' uniforms. 
It was suggested that, in order to fit such pock- 
ets, each packaged ration should be 6 inches 
long by 2 Vi inches wide by 1 inch thick, with a 
weight of not more than three fourths of a 
pound. The recommendation proposed the in- 
clusion of four sodium chloride tablets, to be 
used to replace salt lost from the body by ex- 
cessive perspiration, and suggested consider- 
ation of the use of chocolate, peanuts, raisins, 
concentrated soups, bouillon cubes, and fruit 
juice powder because of their food value and 
compactness. 47 

Working in co-operation with Dr. Ancel 
Keys of the University of Minnesota, the Sub- 
sistence Research Laboratory had been experi- 
menting with pemmican biscuits, cervelat 
sausage, beverage concentrates, and special con- 
fections, and it was therefore able to make 
counterproposals. 48 In particular the laboratory 
objected to the small size of the ration, propos- 
ing instead dimensions of 6V2 by 5V4 by \ l A 
inches. The laboratory viewed favorably the use 
of all the proposed ration items except sodium 
chloride tablets, which were already being is- 
sued by the Army, and concentrated soups, 
which required boiling water for preparation. 
Two sample rations were sent for consideration 
to the Provisional Parachute Group. One of 
these, containing 12 pemmican biscuits, a \Vi- 
ounce cake of Type D chocolate, a meat prep- 
aration, and a lemon or orange powder soluble 
in cold water, may be considered the direct pro- 
totype of the K ration. Early experimentation 
of the laboratory had demonstrated that a ration 
must be appealing as well as nutritious. Em- 

phasis was therefore placed on securing the 
greatest variety of palatable, stable, and nutri- 
tious foods obtainable within the imposed limits 
of space and weight. Maximum palatability of 
the K ration was sacrificed to these limitations, 
which exerted the primary influence in the de- 
velopment of this ration. 

Late in the summer of 1941 development of 
this ration, usually referred to as the parachute 
ration, had reached- the point where field tests 
were desirable. About the same time the Chief 
of Infantry emphasized that there was no 
conflict between the needs of parachute troops 
and other types of troops, and he recommended 
that "all-around suitability rather than a highly 
specialized use be the objective." 49 

Shortly thereafter representatives of The 
Quartermaster General and the Chief of In- 
fantry agreed to designate the new item as Field 
Ration, Type K, thereby eliminating any limita- 
tion as to the function which the ration might 
fulfill. 50 Extensive tests were made of the K 
ration in the fall and winter of 1941-42, and it 
emerged with flying colors. 51 

The commanding general of the Army 
Ground Forces felt that the findings of some of 
the tests were sufficiently conclusive to warrant 
standardization of the K ration without waiting 
for completion of all the comprehensive tests. 
In the summer of 1942 the QMCTC recom- 
mended adoption of the K ration. Official an- 

47 ( 1 ) Ltr, Lt Col W. C. Lee, Hq Provisional Para- 
chute Group, Ft Benning, Ga., to Coflnf, 17 Jun 41, 
sub: Rat for Use by Parachutists. (2) 2d ind, OCI to 
TQMG, 27 Jun 41, on same. Both in 400.112. 

48 (1) 4th ind, Col Henry B. Barry, CQMD, to 
TQMG, 22 Jul 41, on ltr cited in n. 47. (2) Ltr, Col 
Isker, SRL, to Col Lee, Ft Benning, Ga., 22 Jul 41, 
sub: Parachute Rat. Both in 400.112. 

"9 2d ind, Col M. S. Lough, OCI, to TQMG, on 
memo, Col Lee, Ft Benning, Ga., to SRL, 28 Jul 41, 
no sub, 400.112. 

*° Ltr, Col Logan, OQMG, to Col Isker, SRL, 13 
Nov 41, no sub. 

51 For an extended discussion of these tests see 
Thatcher, Special Rations, pp. 43-48. 



nouncement of the standardization, however, 
was delayed until November. 52 

Development tended toward designing the K 
ration in meal packages rather than a single 
package for an entire day. These were labeled 
"breakfast unit," "dinner unit," and "supper 
unit." In the course of development the weight 
of the K ration increased to 36 Vi ounces net 
weight or A6V2 ounces including the outer 
wrappings, but the caloric content remained 
about the same. The composition and the pack- 
aging of the K ration varied in many minor de- 
tails during the war period. To trace these 
changes in detail would be tedious, and a 
graphic presentation (Chart 8) is sufficiently 
explanatory. 53 

The successive revisions of the K ration in- 
creased its palatability but it remained inferior 
in this respect to the improved C ration. Like 
the latter it included, by the end of the war, 
nonfoodstufT items intended to provide addi- 
tional comfort for the soldier. Similarly, the 
trend of development moved from the use of 
finely ground potted meats to the use of sliced 
meat or chunk meat products. A number of 
these— chicken solid pack, ham steak, and pork 
steak— were developed by the Subsistence Re- 
search Laboratory and approved by the OQMG, 
but the war ended before these items could be 
procured. Field criticism had underscored the 
need for revision of the K ration, but priority of 
development at the laboratory was given to the 
new C ration and the ten-in-one. 

The K ration was intended for use in the as- 
sault phase of combat. The first and succeeding 
waves of troops would go into action carrying 
K rations, with D rations in their pockets for 
use in case they were cut off. As positions were 
consolidated, the C ration would be issued to 
the troops. In actual operation in the theaters, 
however, both C and K rations might be uti- 
lized during this period until, with the estab- 
lishment of a beachhead, groups of men could 
be supplied with the ten-in-one ration. 

When pressed, soldiers would admit that the 
K ration was a necessary item, but it was sound- 
ly criticized nonetheless. Similar complaints 
flowed into the OQMG from all theaters. All 
troops disliked the biscuits— Defense, K-l, and 
K-2— whether on Attu, in North Africa, or on 
Leyte. They were decidedly opposed to the use 
of lemon powder and were extremely critical of 
the inclusion of nonpopular brands of cigarettes. 

In general the men will not eat K rations after 
a few days. They will pick out the chocolate bar, 
drink the coffee, and eat the soda crackers if they 
are the salted type. They will usually eat the cheese 
for about a week, after which they get tired of it. 54 

Although from a nutritional viewpoint it was 
necessary for a soldier to eat all portions of the 
K ration in order to receive full food value, ob- 
servers agreed that troops threw away disliked 
items, thereby upsetting the nutritional balance 
the laboratory had sought to achieve in this 
ration. 55 

The K ration represented only one of several 
rations developed for use during the assault 
phase of combat. On the basis of requirements 
in the Pacific theaters the Subsistence Research 
Laboratory in 1944 undertook the development 
of a ration that would satisfy troops in the first 
phase of an amphibious assault. As a result an 
assault lunch was perfected. The provision of 
in-flight food for air crew members opened up 

52 (1) Memo, Maj J. R. Dryden, AGF, for TQMG, 
1 1 May 42, sub: Test of Fid Rat, Type K Emergency, 
400.112. (2) QMCTC, minofmtg4, 25 May 42. (3) 
2d ind, Hq SOS to OQMG, 27 Nov 42, on memo, 
Col Doriot, OQMG, for Chief of Dev Br, Reqmts 
Div, SOS, 17 Nov 42, sub: Standardization of Rat 
Type K, 430.2. 

55 See Thatcher, Special Rations, pp. 56-58. 

54 Dir of Mil Ping Div to Dir of Subs Div, OQMG, 
30 Mar 45, sub: Rat, giving extracts from a report of 
a captain of the Medical Corps recently returned from 

55 See the voluminous file on soldiers' and observ- 
ers' comments on the K ration from all theaters, cov- 
ering the period 1943-46, extracts from which were 
compiled by the Assistant for Product Analysis and 
are now on file in the Research and Development 
Branch, OQMG. 

Chart 8— Principal Changes in K Ration Components 


AUG 1941 



DEC 1941 

K RA'i ION •• K ^. : 
























4 OZ 








5 CHOC BAR 202 


5 CHOC BAR 201 





sos chewing gum 




is sJctr cubes 








•»•*» PPM 


B 0— 



b o— 





foiar paper 






a large field of development posing many intri- 
cate problems. In the beginning little or no 
attention had been given to in-flight feeding, 
but by the spring of 1943 the laboratory, in 
co-operation with the Army Air Forces, was 
developing the air crew lunch. 56 

Ten-in-One Ration 

Among the special rations developed by the 
QMC the ten-in-one was the most important 
packaged ration for group feeding. It was 
intended for use in combat situations not suf- 
ficiently stabilized to permit kitchen-prepared 
meals, though still allowing a minimum of 
food preparation. It could be used for troops 
isolated in small groups, such as gun crews, 
armored vehicle crews, and small tactical 
groups. However, when developmental work 
on rations for group feeding was first initiated, 
the operational conditions for which they were 
to be used were not clearly foreseen. 

The ten-in-one ration had three predeces- 
sors—the mountain, the jungle, and the five-in- 
one rations. 57 The first two of these originated 
during 1941 and 1942 in the OQMG, where the 
Army's emphasis on the organization of special 
troops, such as parachute troops, jungle troops, 
mountain troops, and armored forces, was 
translated into Quartermaster concentration on 
specialized clothing, equipment, and food for 
such troops. The developmental work on these 
two rations, each intended to feed four men for 
one day, was chiefly accomplished by the Spe- 
cial Forces Section of the OQMG. However 
essential a special ration might be for mountain 
troops, considerable doubt existed as to the 
need for special types of food for troops operat- 
ing in jungle areas. The Subsistence Research 
Laboratory was extremely critical of these two 
rations and urged that procurement be held to 
a minimum until field reports demonstrated 
their adequacy. Although these rations were not 
standardized considerable quantities of them 

were nevertheless procured before they were 
finally dropped. 

Concurrently the Subsistence Research Labo- 
ratory was developing a five-in-one ration, 
which was planned as a unit assembly of suffi- 
cient food to take care of five men for one day. 
This ration grew out of the need of the Armored 
Force to supply rations to individual tank crews 
and to fast-moving organizations. It was 
intended to provide a ration as much like the 
regular B ration as possible but one which 
would enable men to be completely self-suffi- 
cient in the field. Hence the selection of foods 
was suggested by the B ration but was modified 
to the extent that soluble coffee and pre-cooked 
readily prepared cereals were used. Such food- 
stuffs were selected as could be easily prepared 
by troops with limited cooking experience and 
more limited cooking facilities. They were com- 
mercially produced items both as to type of 
product and size of container. Three menus 
were developed by the laboratory for this 
ration, which included forty different food 
items. By August 1942 developmental work was 
approaching completion, and a considerable 
quantity of the five-in-one ration was procured, 
although like other group-feeding rations it 
was not standardized. 

A special ration providing food for ten men 
for one day had been under consideration in 
this same period, but the project remained 
dormant until the spring of 1943. Then it was 
suddenly revived and rapidly pushed to a suc- 
cessful conclusion as a result of two factors. 
One was the great success of the British Com- 
posite Pack during the North African campaign 
in the fall of 1942. This "Compo" ration, pack- 
aged to feed fourteen men for one day and con- 
taining nine different menus, was intended to 
provide the only subsistence in new operations 

56 For elaboration of this development work see 
SR&DL, Ration Development, pp. 49-59. 

57 For an analysis of the development of these 
rations see Thatcher, Special Rations, pp. 64-90. 



for as long as forty-two days. The Research and 
Development Branch made a complete study of 
this ration in the spring of 1943, and it 
undoubtedly had much influence on the devel- 
opment of the ten-in-one ration. 58 

The second factor was the movement for 
simplification of rations which gathered impe- 
tus in the fall of 1942. The trend toward diversi- 
fication, illustrated by the mountain and jungle 
rations, reached its climax in the spring. A 
critic described the situation as follows: 

Development during the last two years in an 
effort to furnish a suitable type of combat ration 
having the qualities of light weight, small bulk 
and adequate nutritional value has been highly suc- 
cessful insofar as bulk, weight, nutritional value 
and palatability are concerned, but has also had the 
undesirable result of producing a large number of 
different types of packaging and types of com- 
ponents to fit local conditions of terrain and cli- 
mate, and even to fit particular types of equipment. 
The resulting complexity has so involved both the 
supply problem and the problem of the ultimate 
breakdown for use that an immediate simplifica- 
tion is considered essential. 59 

As a result of a series of conferences in the fall 
and winter of 1942^43, representatives of the 
AGF and the QMC agreed upon the develop- 
ment and standardization of two special rations 
(in addition to the type A and type B field 
rations) that should eventually replace all the 
special rations then being procured for the 
AGF. The two special rations included an indi- 
vidual combat ration and a smali-group field 
ration. Development of the former proved 
unsuccessful, and consequently the C, K, and 
D types of field rations continued to be utilized 
during World War II. On the other hand, the 
quest for a small-group ration was successful 
and resulted in the standardization of the ten- 
in-one ration in June 1943. 60 It replaced the 
mountain, jungle, and five-in-one rations, which 
were classified as limited standard. 

In March 1943 the military characteristics of 
the ten-in-one ration had been determined at a 

conference between representatives of the 
OQMG and the AGF. Since theater reports 
stressed the need for speed, the Research and 
Development Branch, in collaboration with the 
Subsistence Research Laboratory, undertook to 
complete development of the ration within 30 
to 45 days. A weight limitation of 40 pounds 
had been imposed, necessitating a considerable 
use of dehydrated foods. During the course of 
development the laboratory evolved two ver- 
sions of the ration, each containing three 
menus. The chief difference between them was 
that in one set all meals were arranged on a 
group basis, and in the other a unit of the K 
ration was substituted for the dinner in each 
menu, thus permitting individual distribution 
of the midday meal. 61 The use of the K ration 
permitted the inclusion of a greater number of 
items for the two group meals and resulted in a 
higher caloric value for the entire ration. 
Accordingly it was this set which was selected 
for adoption. It had also been decided that 
distribution to smaller tactical units would be 
materially aided by packing the ration on a 
double five-in-one basis. Before standardization 
in June some additional changes were made, 
including the increase of the number of menus 
to five and the addition of towels to the non- 
food items in the ration. 

Although a number of other minor changes 
were made, the most important modification of 
the ten-in-one ration was initiated in 1944. In 
the original development it had been assumed 
that tactical considerations would necessitate an 

58 R&D Br to Opns Br, Mil Ping Div, OQMG, 16 
Mar 43, sub: Lessons Derived from Opns at 
Casablanca and Oran. 

59 Ltr, Lt Col J. S. Tanner, Asst Ground Adj Gen, to 
CG ASF, 28 Mar 43, sub: Simplification of Rat for 
Active Fid Opns. 

60 ( 1 ) Rpt, Subcom, QMCTC, to QMCTC, 7 Jun 
43, sub: Ten-in-One Rat. (2) QMCTC, min of mtg 
12, 8 Jun 43. (3) 4th ind, Hq ASF to TQMG, 25 Jun 
43, on subcom rpt. Both in 430.2. 

61 Ltr, Col Isker, SRL, to George Burgess, R&D Br, 
OQMG, 13 Apr 43, no sub. 







individual issue at noon. Use of the ration in 
theaters of operations, however, demonstrated 
that, except in the case of the most exposed 
infantry, it was possible to heat all three meals. 
Reports from overseas indicated that the five- 
in-one ration with a group noon meal was more 
acceptable than the ten-in-one ration with indi- 
vidual dinners. Furthermore, complaints from 
NATO about the similarity of the K ration and 
the K type lunch provided for the noon meal 
of the ten-in-one ration led to suggestions to 
modify it. 62 

The K ration noon meal had been included 
as the best immediate solution of the problem 
in the rapid development of the ten-in-one 
ration. Since its limitations had been recog- 

nized, the Subsistence Research Laboratory 
started developmental work toward increasing 
the food value and bulk of the noon meal, 
improving its acceptability and getting away 
from the K type lunch. This had to be accom- 
plished, however, without substantially exceed- 
ing a slightly increased weight of 45 pounds per 
unit and without sacrificing individual messing 
at the noon meal. 63 The weight factor was 

62 ( 1 ) Ltr, Brig Gen J. P. Sullivan, Hq Fifth Army, 
to Col W. H. Middleswart, Hq SOS NATOUSA, 19 
May 44, no sub. (2) Ltr, Col Middleswart to Brig Gen 
H. Feldman, OQMG, 25 May 44, no sub. Both in 

6J Ltr, Gen Feldman to Col Middleswart, Hq SOS 
NATOUSA, 3 Jun 44, np sub, 430.2. 



deemed to be especially important for opera- 
tions in the Pacific. 

The laboratory was successful in developing 
new products permitting menus of greater 
variety. Such meat items as hamburger, pork 
tenderloin, pork and corn, pork and apple, and 
sausage and apple were substituted for the dis- 
liked hash-type products. At the same time the 
size of the meat cans was increased from 4 to 6 
ounces. New confections were introduced and a 
can of pudding was included as a dessert in the 
noon meal. It was expected that the change to 
the new meat items and confections could be 
effected in six weeks, although it would take a 
little longer to get production established and 
include the puddings. 64 To the accessory kit, 
containing cigarettes, halazone tablets, matches, 
can opener, soap, paper towels, and toilet paper, 
were added other items, including a sponge for 
cleaning mess gear used in cooking. Where 
space permitted, the allotment of cigarettes was 
increased to twenty per man. 

Further developmental work on the ration 
during 1945 was aimed at increasing the accept- 
ability of its components, and revision of the 
ration was authorized accordingly in February 
1945. 6<i The Subsistence Research Laboratory 
undertook to plan a ration that would be 
acceptable and nutritionally adequate, would 
permit standardization of container sizes and 
interchangeability of components from menu to 
menu, and would, at the same time, be practical 
from a production and procurement viewpoint. 
The production requirements were particularly 
important in the spring of 1945 because short- 
ages and transportation difficulties were affect- 
ing the quality of the ten-in-one ration then 
being procured. 

In February the laboratory revised the ration 
by changing the noon meal from an individual 
to a group issue basis. 66 In this revision a fresh 
start was made in menu planning. Although 
the OQMG favored the use of three menus 
because of the popularity these had achieved in 

the five-in-one ration, the laboratory success- 
fully defended the use of five on the basis of 
their effect on acceptability. The commodity 
branches of the laboratory were called upon to 
recommend components on the basis of maxi- 
mum acceptability and availability. 

New menus, No. 6 through No. 10, 67 were 
submitted to the OQMG for approval. The 
greatest single advance in the new ten-in-one 
was undoubtedly the use of canned breads 
instead of the usual biscuits. Canned fruits were 
added to all five breakfast meals, and the bever- 
age components were increased. The accept- 
ability of the noon meal was greatly improved 
by the use of two popular chunk meats— beef 
and gravy and roast beef— as well as canned 
hamburgers and frankfurters. For the first time, 
too, canned tuna and salmon were included as 
main meal items. Chunk meats were also used 
for the supper meals. In addition, canned whole 
white potatoes and sweet potatoes were added 
as components separate from meat to avoid any 
similarity to the stews which had been found so 
universally monotonous. The varieties of con- 
fections were increased, and all accessories were 
standardized throughout the menus. 

The revised ten-in-one ration met with such 
approval in Washington that Headquarters, 
AGF, recommended that the standard menus 
No. 1 through No. 5 be reclassified as limited 
standard and that future procurement be made 
of the new menus. It was understood that this 
revision had increased the weight of the unit to 
58 pounds, but this was considered unimportant 
in view of the increased acceptability of the 
ration. Troops, according to Headquarters, AGF, 

64 (1) Ltr, Feldman to Middleswart, 26 Jun 44, no 
sub. (2) Memo, Capt Walter A. Maclinn for George 
W. Burgess, OQMG, 14 Jun 44, sub: Modifications in 
the Ten-in-One Rat, 430.2. 

65 For an analysis of the laboratory's work in the fol- 
lowing months, see SR&DL, Ration Development, pp. 

66 R&D Br, Status Rpt, 28 Feb 45, p. 54. 

67 For reproduction of the proposed menus, see 
SR&DL, Ration Development, pp. 95-99. 



would seldom be required to carry the ration by 
hand for any appreciable distance, and it could 
easily be divided into a two-man load. 68 A trial 
procurement of the revised ration had been ap- 
proved by the QMCTC, but the end of the war 
suspended the procurement of all special ra- 
tions. Theater evaluation of the new ten-in-one 
during World War II is therefore not available. 

Development of Components of A and B Rations 

The development of packaged operational ra- 
tions constituted a primary, but not the only, 
interest of the Subsistence Research Laboratory, 
since the QMC had to feed troops behind the 
combat lines in theaters of operations as well as 
those located in the zone of interior. Field ra- 
tions, types A and B, the latter of which re- 
quired considerable developmental work, had 
been designated for these purposes. Field ration 
A corresponded as nearly as practicable with the 
components, or substitutes therefor, of the gar- 
rison ration. 69 It was issued daily whenever cir- 
cumstances permitted. Ordinarily it included 
such items as fresh fruits and vegetables. With 
a few exceptions, field ration A was first pre- 
scribed for all posts, camps, and stations within 
the United States for a 3-month trial period be- 
ginning 1 May 1941. 70 This directive was later 
extended to provide throughout the war for the 
use of the A ration within the zone of interior 
at all posts, camps, and stations of more than 
2,500 strength, with some few exceptions. 71 The 
A ration was also used overseas where availabil- 
ity of local perishables and refrigerated trans- 
portation permitted. 

In overseas theaters, however, the limited 
amount of refrigerated storage and refrigerated 
transportation greatly restricted the quantity of 
perishables which could be used. Often it was 
not possible or practical to use the A ration. 
Field ration B was normally used in operations 
overseas as well as during field training in the 

zone of interior. It was issued behind the com- 
bat lines wherever troops were removed from 
the sources of fresh foodstuffs and sometimes 
even at the front itself. Front-line fighting 
troops, however, normally consumed combat or 
emergency rations, such as C, K, or D. 

The B ration corresponded as nearly as was 
practicable with the components of field ration 
A except that nonperishable processed or 
canned products replaced those of a perishable 
nature. Thus canned meats were substituted for 
fresh meats; dehydrated and canned fruits and 
vegetables for fresh ones; evaporated or dried 
milk for fresh milk; hard bread or crackers and 
canned jelly or jam for fresh bread and butter. 
The B ration was a nonperishable one which 
did not require refrigeration facilities and could 
be stocked at depots and railheads. It usually re- 
quired full field kitchens and ordinarily also 
needed field bakeries, although these might be 
eliminated by the use of hard bread or biscuits. 

The American meal pattern, which included 
meats, vegetables, and dairy products, was re- 
produced in the Army subsistence program' 
The adaptation of many of the normal Amer- 
ican food items to mass production and field 
use brought a variety of developmental prob- 

Boneless Beef 

Because of limited refrigerated storage and 
transportation facilities, the only fresh meats 
available in overseas theaters were fresh frozen 
meats, such as Army-style boneless beef and 
semiboneless pork loins. When possible these 
were used to supplement the B ration. The de- 

68 Ltr, Hq AGF to CG ASF, 14 Jul 45, sub: Ten- 
in-One Rat, 430.2. 

69 AR 30-2210, Sec. I, par. 4d, 15 Mar 40, sub: Rat. 

70 WD Cir 28, par. 1, 17 Feb 41, sub: Rat. 

71 (1) WD Cir 170, Sec. I, 16 Aug 41, sub: Rat. 
(2) WD Cir 195, 18 Sep 41, sub: Sales Commissaries, 
Fid Commissaries, and Rat. 



velopment of boneless beef 72 was the result of 
many years of experimentation. The idea of 
using it on a large scale in the field had origi- 
nated with Col. William R. Grove, Chief of 
Subsistence, during World War I as a means of 
eliminating the waste of carcass beef and of sav- 
ing shipping space. 73 The method used for bon- 
ing, freezing, and packaging beef in 1918 was 
rudimentary. 74 At the end of the war, moreover, 
further developmental work was suspended 
since no civilian or military demand existed for 
boneless beef. The Army returned to the use of 
carcass beef. 

Developmental work on boneless beef was 
revived in 1934 at the Quartermaster Subsist- 
ence School and was continued after 1936 by 
the Subsistence Research Laboratory at Chi- 
cago. 75 This work was promoted by Dr. Jesse 
H. White, who had supervised the production 
of boneless beef for the Navy during World 
War I. His efforts, however, received little or no 
support until the late thirties, when the lab- 
oratory enlisted the co-operation of Armour & 
Co. and Swift & Co. in the development of this 
purely military item. It was anticipated that the 
savings to be effected in storage, shipping space, 
weight, and packaging materials would more 
than compensate for the additional cost of pre- 
paring boneless beef. A number of problems 
were involved in this developmental work. The 
first was the utilization of all edible meat from 
each carcass to avoid prohibitive costs for the 
product. A boning method had to be perfected 
that would result in the economical use of the 
edible meat of the carcass and, at the same time, 
produce cuts of meat suitable for roasting, slic- 
ing into steaks, stewing, or grinding. Further- 
more, the problem of packaging had to be 
solved to provide for easy removal of coverings 
and easy separation of individual pieces of 
frozen meat to promote ease of use in the field 
with a minimum of preparation time. It was 
1938 before a satisfactory boning technique was 
perfected and the QMC could write instructions 

for the preparation of Army boneless beef. The 
basic characteristics of the technique thereafter 
remained much the same. Changes made subse- 
quently were effected to improve the cuts of 
meat, the distribution of cuts, and the packag- 
ing. 76 

Late in 1939 the OQMG directed the Sub- 
sistence Research Laboratory to make a study of 
the feasibility of using boneless beef on maneu- 
vers. It was proposed to test its use during the 
Second Army maneuvers in the spring of 1940. 
The laboratory recommended that the meat be 
packaged in three groups instead of the two 
used heretofore. It proposed packing 40 percent 
for roasting and frying, 40 percent for stewing 
and boiling, and 20 percent as ground meat. 
This division, it was urged, would result in the 
most satisfactory use of the whole carcass. 77 The 
introduction of the third class of boneless beef 
was a new development in the preparation of 
the product. The Subsistence Branch, OQMG, 
did not concur. It believed only two classes of 
meat should be provided on a 50-50 percent 
basis— (1) roasting and frying meat and (2) 
stewing, boiling, and grinding meat. Since the 
equipment of the field range included a hand- 
operated grinder, the grinding of meat before 
shipment was not deemed essential. 78 Later in 
the summer of 1941, as a result of criticisms 

72 For a full discussion of this development see 
Elliott Cassidy, The Development of Meat, Dairy, Poul- 
try, and Fish Products for the Army (QMC Historical 
Studies 7, October 1944), pp. 4-15. 

73 Ltr, Col William R. Grove to Maj Gen E. E. 
Booth, 15 Sep 38, no sub. 

74 For an elaboration of this method see SR&DL, 
Meat Products, pp. 10-11. 

75 Col Paul P. Logan, "Food's Part in Defense," 
QMR, XXI (May-June 1942), 63. 

76 Cassidy, Development of Meat, Dairy, Poultry, and 
Fish Products for the Army, p. 6. 

77 SRL, Research Rpt 125-40, 6 Mar 40, sub: Army 
Boneless Beef, 431. 

78 (1) Subs Br to Chief of Sup Div, OQMG, 11 
Mar 40, sub: Boneless Beef for Fid Rat. (2) Ltr, Lt 
Col Carl A. Hardigg, OQMG, to CO CQMD, 25 Mar 
40, same sub. Both in 431. 



made during tests on maneuvers, the specifica- 
tion was revised to include ground beef. 
Boneless beef proved so successful during the 

1940 maneuvers that various posts, camps, and 
stations requested it. In September 1940, for the 
first time since World War I, boneless beef was 
procured on other than a test basis. By January 

1941 the OQMG was giving attention to pro- 
curing boneless beef in quantity. 

World War II experience confirmed the ad- 
vantages which the laboratory believed boneless 
beef possessed over carcass beef. Approximately 
60 to 70 percent savings were made in transpor- 
tation and storage space, and a saving of about 
30 percent was effected in weight. 79 From 45 to 
55 pounds of meat could be packed in one fiber- 
board box, 80 and these boxes could be easily 
and uniformly stored. The satisfactory storage 
life of boneless beef was greatly increased over 
that of the usual carcass beef. Since boneless 
beef was packed according to definite uses for 
which the respective cuts were adapted, its use 
largely eliminated the need for butchers in the 
field to cut meat for distribution. The time re- 
quired for preparing boneless beef in the field 
was only a fraction of that needed for thawing, 
boning, and cutting carcass beef. Furthermore, 
the beef was 100 percent edible as compared to 
a yield of approximately 70 percent for the best 
carcass beef. By excluding inedible and unus- 
able portions from delivery, its use also reduced 
to a minimum garbage disposal problems and 
loss. An unanticipated advantage of frozen 
boneless beef was that it could be used exten- 
sively in the field to chill other perishable foods 
while it was thawing. Boneless beef proved to 
be one of the most popular meat items used by 
the Army during World War II. 

Undoubtedly the success of boneless beef 
spurred the initiation during the war years of 
developmental work applying similar tech- 
niques to other meat products. Pork was second 
to beef among meats used by the Army. Fresh 
chilled pork was used primarily by installations 

in the continental United States which were 
close to sources of supply. The successful de- 
velopment of partially boned pork loins was ac- 
complished in 1942, and frozen pork according- 
ly was shipped overseas. Lamb represented only 
a small percentage of the total meat procure- 
ment, but it was desirable to provide it to vary 
ration menus. Boneless lamb was developed 
during 1942, but it was not procured because 
the yield of edible lamb was low in comparison 
with the cost of the labor involved. In 1945, 
however, the laboratory developed a method of 
breaking down and packing the carcass of lamb, 
called telescoping, which not only required 
little labor but saved about 40 percent of the 
shipping space. In 1945, too, the laboratory ini- 
tiated developmental work on "fabricated" veal. 
This experimentation was brought to a success- 
ful close only after the war ended. 81 

Smoked Meats 

Ham and bacon are among the most familiar 
meats in the American diet. The objective of 
the QMC was to provide the Army with 
smoked meat products that would remain palat- 
able and stable without refrigeration. During 
the Spanish- American War ham had been de- 
veloped that would stand up under field condi- 
tions without refrigeration. Dry salt bacon had 
been used at an even earlier date. Unfortunately 
the excessive dryness and saltiness of the meat 
made it unpalatable. The experiences of World 
War I had yielded similar and unsatisfactory re- 
sults. With the advent of refrigeration, meat 
packers developed a new type of mildly cured 
ham and bacon for the commercial market. 
These products, however, were perishable, and 
required constant refrigeration. As a conse- 

79 SR&DL, Meat Products, pp. 15, 21. 

80 Packers were allowed to fill boxes with ground 
meat to a maximum of 62 pounds, net weight. 

81 For discussion of these developments see SR&DL, 
Meat Products, pp. 22-31. 



quence, commercial smoked meats were of 
limited use to the Army in time of war. 82 They 
were used at installations in the United States, 
but they could not be shipped overseas since re- 
frigerated space was extremely critical early in 
the war, and food had to be held months before 

With the enactment of selective service legis- 
lation in 1940 and the resultant expansion of 
the Armed Forces, the OQMG and the Subsist- 
ence Laboratory became interested in develop- 
ing ham and bacon that could be used in the 
field without refrigeration. Developmental work 
was begun under Dr. Jesse H. White of the lab- 
oratory, who worked in close co-operation with 
Mr. Harry Williams of the Research Depart- 
ment of Wilson & Co. of Chicago. 83 Most of 
the preliminary laboratory work had been ac- 
complished by February 1941. Smoked hams 
were prepared according to formulas prescribed 
by the laboratory. By April a proposed specifica- 
tion provided for two types of hams. 84 Those 
prepared by the long-cure method were des- 
tined for overseas. "Defense" hams, essentially 
a short-cured product, were developed for use 
in this country, Puerto Rico, and Alaska, and 
dry salt-cured bacon for issue in the Hawaiian, 
Panama Canal, and Philippine Departments. 

Defense hams were expected to keep from 
two to four weeks under field conditions, but 
the first reports received from the field in June 
1941 indicated unsatisfactory performance. 85 
Complaints of the development of slime and 
mold on the hams caused the laboratory to re- 
view the processing and packaging procedure. 
The changes made were incorporated in a new 
specification, 86 and resulted in better products. 
The defense ham was regarded as satisfactory 
for Army use and was procured throughout 

Defense ham and bacon, however, were not 
designed for and hence were unsuitable for ship- 
ment overseas, as was demonstrated by their 
failure to withstand nonrefrigerated transporta- 

tion to Hawaii in March 1942. 87 This failure re- 
sulted in intensified developmental work on 
smoked meat products for overseas shipment. 
The processing method used for such products 
required long curing and produced a rather salty 
meat that was not highly palatable. In the con- 
version of perishable to nonperishable products 
the QMC was not completely successful in 
achieving its goal, but the laboratory's develop- 
mental work did make smoked meat products 
available overseas, adding variety to the sol- 
diers' food. 

Surface mold, however, remained a wartime 
problem. In an effort to eliminate it, the labora- 
tory early in 1942 investigated and experi- 
mented with various packing methods. 88 Pack- 
ing hams in salt was the best method available 
at the time of adoption, but it had disadvan- 
tages. In particular, over a long period of storage 
it increased the brackish taste of the product. 
The laboratory experimented with packing ham 
in lard. This method was found to be quite suc- 
cessful, but the OQMG did not follow up the 
experiment. As a result of many complaints, the 
packing of overseas hams and bacon in salt was 
discontinued in January 1944. A few months 
later the use of ventilated boxes was specified to 
permit the circulation of air which would 
vaporize the moisture condensing on hams or 
draining from them. This new packing method 

82 Col Logan, Subs Br, to Col Hardigg, Sup Div, 
OQMG, 17 Feb 41, no sub. 

85 Ltr, Col Hardigg, OQMG, to Col Barry, CQMD, 
21 Feb 41, sub: Travel Orders. 

84 ( 1 ) Proposed Army Spec drafted by CQMD, 16 
Apr 41, sub: Smoked Hams. (2) Cassidy, The Devel- 
opment of Meat, Dairy, Poultry, and Fish Products for 
the Army, pp. 17-18. 

85 Ltr, Col Barry, CO CQMD, to Col Logan, 
OQMG, 25 Jun 41, sub: Defense Hams. 

86 U. S. Army spec drafted by CQMD, 16 Jul 41, 
sub: Smoked Ham. 

87 Ltr, Capt W. O. Kester, Food Insp, to Subs Off, 
Hawaiian QM Depot, 10 Apr 42, sub: Rpt on Condi- 
tion of Defense Ham. 

88 ( 1 ) Cassidy, The Development of Meat, Dairy, 
Poultry, and Fish Products for the Army, pp. 20-21. (2) 
SR&DL, Meat Products, pp. 39-41. 



was fairly successful in preventing slime and 
mold resulting from wet hams. As refrigeration 
facilities increased in the ETO, the problem 
diminished in importance, not because the 
problem of developing smoked ham capable of 
retaining its palatability and stability without 
refrigeration had been solved, but because re- 
frigeration kept difficulties with this method of 
packing to a minimum. The overseas ham, how- 
ever, was not suitable for shipment to the Pacif- 
ic theater where refrigeration facilities were not 
similarly available, and an extreme shortage of 
hams existed there. 

Canned Meats 

In the early stages of an invasion, troops ex- 
isted on combat rations for a period varying 
from a week to a month. Thereafter the B ra- 
tion was utilized for a period of 60 to 90 days, 
or until refrigeration became available in the 
new theater, after which the B ration was sup- 
plemented with perishable products. Until then 
frozen meats could not be used, and troops were 
entirely dependent upon canned meats. The 
bulk of canned meats procured for the B ration 
at the beginning of the war consisted of corned 
beef hash, meat and vegetable stew, meat and 
vegetable hash, pork luncheon meat, and 
Vienna sausage. The products were quite simi- 
lar to those sold commercially and, in fact, prior 
to the issuance of specifications by the Chicago 
Quartermaster Depot, were obtained in their 
commercial forms. 

Although the B ration was described by one 
Quartermaster officer in Italy as the "best field 
ration the Army ever had," it was the target of 
considerable criticism from the North African 
and Pacific theaters of operations. 89 Most of the 
complaints centered about the distaste the 
troops had acquired for certain meat compo- 
nents, particularly the stews, hashes, Vienna 
sausage, and pork luncheon meat. Regardless of 
the source of production, the soldier disparag- 

ingly called all pork luncheon meat "Spam." 
Through its overissue to troops, it became the 
butt of many jokes. A Quartermaster observer 
at Biak, referring to corned beef, corned beef 
hash, and meat and vegetable stew, inquired: 

When are those items going to be eliminated? 
Troops in this theater have been fed those three 
items so often that they simply pass them up now 
when they appear on the table. . . . It is an old 
contention of mine that GI Joe has become thor- 
oughly allergic to stews and hashes. He wants 
whole meat products. 90 

So deep-seated was this dislike that when the 
observer showed a list of new meat compo- 
nents, including one called beef and vegetables, 
to officers at Biak the general reaction, without 
their having even seen the new ration, was: 
"Look, they are giving meat and vegetables a 
new name." 

It was the contention of the laboratory that 
it was not the products so much as the methods 
of distribution and preparation which were at 
fault. 91 Certainly the frequent use of the same 
meat components,whether indifferently or well 
prepared in overseas kitchens, made for monot- 
ony and promoted criticism of the items. The 
laboratory had pursued a program of continuous 
developmental work to obtain a wide variety of 
canned meat products which had been submit- 
ted to the OQMG. As a result of the com- 
plaints the OQMG approved a wider variety of 
palatable and nutritious canned meats. Before 
the war ended more than fifty kinds were being 
produced for' the B ration and the various com- 
bat rations. 92 As in the case of packaged rations, 

89 See, for example, Lt Col D. B. Dill to Dir of Mil 
Ping Div, n. d. (circa Apr 44), sub: Rpt on Travel to 
NATO, 26 Oct- 13 Dec 43. 

90 Memo for file, Asst for Product Analysis, R&D 
Br, OQMG, 24 Oct 44, giving an extract from Letter 
22, Capt Robert D. Orr, 19 Sep 44. 

91 SR&DL, Meat Products, p. 94. 

92 See chart of canned meats procured for the Armed 
Forces during the war in Marion Massen, Canned 
Meats Procurement for the Armed Forces During World 
War //, p. 320. 



the trend was toward the use of chunks of meat 
so that by the end of the war such items as beef 
and gravy, pork and gravy, and ham chunks 
were being procured. Canned boned chicken 
and turkey were also procured for the B ration. 93 

Fruit and Vegetable Products 

Vegetables, which form an important part of 
any American meal except breakfast, are gen- 
erally acceptable in the following order of pref- 
erence: fresh, frozen, canned, and dehydrated. 
Fresh and frozen vegetables and fruits, the pro- 
curement and inspection of which were under 
the direction of the Chicago Quartermaster 
Market Center, were important in the A ration 
as used at installations in the United States. 
Their use involved no developmental problems 
for the QMC. The use of frozen foods resulted 
in savings of money, packaging materials — a 
highly important factor during the tin short- 
age—and shipping space for the Army. The 
lack of sufficient refrigerated storage and trans- 
portation equipment, however, limited the ex- 
tent to which frozen foods could be used in 
World War II. 

Canned fruits and vegetables had long been 
extensively used by the Army because they were 
relatively easy to handle, prepare, and store. 
However, they were bulky and heavy and used 
strategic materials, especially tin. Such canned 
products were used in the A ration only when 
fresh foods were out of season or frozen vegeta- 
bles were too expensive. They formed the basis, 
however, of the B ration. 

Commercial canning of fruits and vegetables 
had been so perfected by industry that the 
QMC had no need to initiate special develop- 
mental projects. On the other hand, special 
storage problems, which had not heretofore 
confronted industry, were posed by the global 
nature of World War II. This was particularly 
true of canned vegetables destined for the 
tropics. Freezing and extreme cold also affected 

such products in various ways. As a conse- 
quence, the Subsistence Research Laboratory 
had to test these commodities to determine 
their suitability for extended use overseas. Il- 
lustrative of the stability problems investigated 
by the laboratory was the control of thermo- 
philic spoilage. Thermophilic bacteria are pres- 
ent in many canned foods, but they are gener- 
ally harmless unless such products are exposed 
to temperatures from 100° to 130° F. In storage 
conditions at many overseas installations such 
temperatures prevailed. Under these circum- 
stances the bacteria multiply rapidly, causing 
spoilage of the canned products. 94 

Reports in 1943 indicated that considerable 
spoilage was occurring in canned peas and corn 
stored for any length of time in the tropics. An 
investigation by the National Canners Associa- 
tion showed that specific spots in the processing 
line were foci of thermophilic bacterial infec- 
tion in pea- and corn-canning plants. At a 
meeting held at the laboratory in May 1943, at- 
tended by representatives of the National Can- 
ners Association, the American Can Co., the 
Continental Can Co., and the Owens-Illinois 
Glass Co., it was decided that a control program 
for nonacid canned products should be insti- 
tuted. Mobile laboratories were to be placed in 
operation to investigate causes of spoilage. 

Because the OQMG wanted the National 
Canners Association to participate actively in 
this program, it took no further action until 
September 1943. Then, supplied with informa- 
tion by the research laboratories of the associa- 
tion and as a result of a number of conferences, 
the Subsistence Research Laboratory made plans 

93 For specific developmental problems involved in 
the evolution of these items see SR&DL, Meat Products, 
pp. 94-107. 

94 For a discussion of the different types of spoilage 
see SR&DL, A Report of Wartime Problems in Sub- 
sistence Research and Development, Vol. IX, Fruit 
and Vegetable Products, prepared by Maj Matthew E. 
Highlands et at., September 1947, pp. 19-20. Here- 
after cited as SR&DL, Fruit and Vegetable Products. 




for the construction and operation of a mobile 
chemical and bacteriological laboratory. This 
mobile laboratory was completed and utilized 
for making two surveys of 50 pea-canning 
plants and 77 corn-canning plants in the sum- 
mer of 1944. So successful were these surveys 
that the program was expanded by the con- 
struction of two additional mobile laboratories 
which were placed in operation in the summer 
of 1945. It had been estimated that, by prevent- 
ing Army procurement of unsatisfactory canned 
peas and corn for overseas use, the first mobile 
laboratory in 1944 saved a total of $2,350,000. 95 
Wartime conditions compelled the use of de- 
hydrated products, which had special advan- 
tages for meeting the restrictions imposed by 
World War II. Foremost among these was the 

saving in weight and ship tonnage that could 
be made through the removal of moisture from 
vegetables, fruits, and other food products 
shipped overseas. Furthermore, the fact that 
nonrigid containers instead of tin cans could be 
used for packing many dehydrated products re- 
sulted in large savings of strategic materials. 
With few exceptions, too, dehydrated foods 
withstood extremes of temperature as well as, 
or better than, certain canned foods. Since pre- 
cooked dehydrated foods required only the ad- 
dition of water or milk to reconstitute them for 
use, preparation in the field was greatly simpli- 
fied. Some dehydrated products required special 
treatment by the cook for proper rehydration, 

»' Ibid., p. 33. 



and unless directions were followed an inferior 
food resulted. If improperly handled, dehy- 
drated vegetables acquired a grasslike flavor and 
aroma, although their nutritive value was re- 
tained. New techniques, however, tended to 
minimize this loss of flavor, which had caused 
the doughboy of 1917 to sing: 

They feed us carrots every day 
Which taste just like alfalfa hay 
Hinky, dinkey parley voo. 

While dehydrated vegetables were not a new 
development, 96 and had been used during 
World War I, the return of peace in 1918 led 
to an abrupt slump in the dehydration indus- 
try. Not until early in 1941 did the QMC begin 
to study dehydration seriously, although the 
Subsistence Research Laboratory had been ex- 
amining and testing samples of dehydrated 
products submitted by industry for some time 
before 1941, and Quartermaster personnel had 
kept themselves informed of technical develop- 
ment in this phase of food processing. With 
the outbreak of war in 1939 general interest in 
this problem was stimulated. A special com- 
mittee of the Institute of Food Technologists 
was appointed in 1940 to study the food needs 
of the Armed Forces. 97 The Department of 
Agriculture expanded its studies of dehydration, 
in which it had been interested since 1935, and 
the War Department conducted an extensive 
survey of the production facilities of the entire 
industry in 1941-42. 

Aside from promoting expansion of the de- 
hydration industry to meet its requirements, 98 
the QMC was concerned with such problems as 
the improvement of processing procedures, the 
design and construction of equipment, and the 
improvement of the quality and storage life of 
dehydrated products. To this end the OQMG 
and the Subsistence Research Laboratory insti- 
tuted a program for the collection and dissemi- 
nation of information to dehydrators, with the 
laboratory acting as the focal point in this activ- 

ity. Improving the quality of dehydrated vege- 
tables involved selection of suitable varieties of 
raw materials for dehydration, studies of each 
step in the preparation of dehydrated foods, and 
analysis of the desirability of adopting such 
practices as blanching, sulfiting, and reducing 
moisture content to very low levels. The mo- 
bilization of all research facilities— in govern- 
ment, industry, and educational institutions— 
and the formulation of a co-ordinated research 
program directed and supervised by the Army 
and the Department of Agriculture were the 
most feasible approaches to solving the many 
perplexing problems in a relatively short time. 
This method made possible simultaneous en- 
gagement in a variety of different tests and ex- 
periments. After December 1942 this program 
of co-ordinated research was directed and super- 
vised for the Army by the Military Planning 
Division. 99 

The accomplishments of this co-ordinated 
program resulted not only in greatly increased 
production but also in the development of new 
dehydrated products and the radical improve- 
ment of all dehydrated foods. The research on 
dehydrated vegetables produced many foods 

96 For a full account of developments in this field 
see Elliott Cassidy, The Development of Dehydrated 
Foods for the Army, June 1946, 525 pp. Typescript 
study on file at Hist Sec, OQMG. 

97 Ltr, S. C. Prescott to Maj Logan, OQMG, 2 Nov 
40, no sub. 

98 On 8 May 1941 Capt Cecil G. Dunn, assistant 
professor of food technology at the Massachusetts In- 
stitute of Technology, was called to active duty in the 
Subsistence Division, OQMG, and assigned the task 
of directing the planning and co-ordinating of the de- 
hydration program for the War Department. This 
work became a major assignment in April 1942. 

99 No major research project was supervised after 
that date by the Subsistence Division, which had re- 
search responsibility until then for subsistence items. 
Thereafter many research projects were undertaken by 
the Research and Development Branch of the Military 
Planning Division upon request of the Subsistence 
Division, such projects as sulfiting, and bacteriological 
examination of equipment and processes in dehydra- 
tion plants. Ltr, Col Cecil G. Dunn to Dr. Harold W. 
Thatcher, OQMG, 7 Dec 45, no sub. 



having a bright natural color and improved 
aroma and flavor. Nevertheless, dehydrated 
vegetables were never very popular with the 

Quartermaster interest in dehydrated fruits 
had been aroused anew in 1937 when a field test 
was requested for a number of such fruits. The 
Subsistence Research Laboratory also made 
some tests. While dubious of the usefulness of 
the dehydrated products, the laboratory recom- 
mended that constant contact be maintained 
with the manufacturers and that the Army keep 
itself informed of developments. 100 Before 
World War II the Army's attitude toward the 
use of dehydrated fruits was passive. During the 
war research in the field was emphasized after 
other phases of the dehydration program were 
well advanced. It resulted in the introduction of 
new processing methods. Research on blanched, 
dehydrated apricots, peaches, and pears was ac- 
complished at the University of California. 
Members of the California Dried Fruit Associa- 
tion and the Subsistence Research Laboratory 
participated in the developmental and trial pro- 
duction conducted in 1944 and 1945. When the 
war ended, however, developmental work on 
blanched, dehydrated fruits satisfactory for mili- 
tary use was still in an experimental stage. 101 

Egg and Dairy Products 

The progress made in dehydration included 
its application to other food products, such as 
milk and eggs. 102 The extensive research and 
developmental work conducted by the QMC in 
these fields can only be suggested here. The 
need of the Army for huge quantities of dry 
whole milk, intended primarily for beverage 
purposes, resulted in a concentration of effort 
on this product. It was believed that the find- 
ings in this field could be applied to nonfat dry 
milk solids, that is, dry skimmed milk, used 
mainly in baking. When World War II ended 
considerable developmental work had been 

accomplished. Improved methods of gas pack- 
aging dry milk had been put into effect, and 
copper contamination had been reduced. These 
measures helped prevent milk fats from becom- 
ing rancid through oxidation. Thereafter other 
off-flavors became apparent, stressing the need 
for further research. Work in this field con- 
tinued after the war. 

Dried whole eggs were improved over the 
prewar product by rigidly controlling the qual- 
ity of the raw materials, by reducing the mois- 
ture content, and by using multistage dehydra- 
tion. Partly because of poor preparation in the 
field, dried eggs were not very popular with the 
troops during the war. 

The research accomplished to develop dehy- 
drated foods was probably as extensive in scope 
and as varied as any experimental work per- 
formed in Army subsistence during World War 
II. Certainly more progress was made in 
improving dehydrated food products from 1942 
to 1945 than in the preceding thirty years, and 
it was of the utmost importance in feeding the 
Armed Forces. 

The use of butter by armies is unusual, for it 
is regarded as a luxury food. During World 
War II butter was supplied at the rate of two 
ounces per man per day whenever it was avail- 
able in sufficient quantity and where refrigera- 
tion facilities were adequate. Since butter 
becomes rancid during unrefrigerated storage 
and melts at high temperatures, what the Army 
needed was a product that would remain stable 
without refrigeration. The Subsistence Research 
Laboratory and the Kraft Cheese Co. began 
developmental work on a modified butter prod- 

100 (1) Ltr, Capt Logan to Commandant, School for 
Bakers and Cooks, Ft Slocum, N. Y., 23 Apr 37, no 
sub. (2) Rpt, SRL, 28 May 37, sub: Research Rpt 

101 For an elaboration of the research undertaken 
see Cassidy, The Development of Dehydrated Foods 
for the Army, pp. 395fT. 

102 See Cassidy, The Development of Meat, Dairy, 
Poultry, and Fish Products for the Army, pp. 37-41, 



uct late in 1941. By January of the following 
year the laboratory submitted to the OQMG a 
tentative specification for what came to be 
called Carter's spread, a combination of butter 
and hydrogenated vegetable shortening. 103 It 
had the advantage of a high melting point, but 
the hydrogenated oil component gave the 
spread a waxy body. It was procured and used 
in the North African campaign but not without 
eliciting considerable adverse criticism. One 
observer remarked that no single item had been 
the butt of more jibes than Carter's spread. It 
was described by one soldier as having a "greasy 
tang." 104 By 1943 its procurement had been dis- 
continued. It was replaced by a more acceptable 
butter and cheese combination known as Army 
spread, which had been developed in the mean- 
time by the Subsistence Research Laboratory 
and the Kraft Cheese Co. This was widely used 
in the later campaigns of World War II. 

So extensive was the subsistence research 
program of the QMC that the discussion here 
has been necessarily limited to the major 
aspects. Only passing mention can be made of 
the developmental work done on a variety of 
other components, such as dehydrated soups, 
desserts, and beverage powders used in the B 
and special combat rations. 105 No discussion of 
subsistence would be complete, however, that 
omitted mention of the research directed toward 
the development of effective methods of pack- 
aging and packing the Army's food. No matter 
how high the quality of the food obtained for 
the troops, unless it was delivered in edible con- 
dition the efforts of laboratory technicians 
would be in vain. As a consequence a major 
part of subsistence research had to be devoted 
to this problem. 

Development of Packaging and Packing 

At the outset of World War II the vital need 
for special overseas packaging and packing of 

subsistence was not fully appreciated by indus- 
try or the QMC. 106 Industry's peacetime pack- 
aging efforts were based largely on eye appeal 
and low cost. The fact that commercial prod- 
ucts were consumed within a few months and 
that handling in transit was closely controlled 
eliminated any need for more than a minimum 
amount of protective packaging. 

No Army specifications covering packaging 
and packing for overseas shipment existed at 
the outbreak of the war. Federal specifications 
covered packs for commercial use only, and 
early procurements of subsistence were pack- 
aged and packed accordingly. Flexible packag- 
ing materials, such as cellophane and coated or 
waxed glassine, offered little moisture protec- 
tion, and industry had given slight attention to 
sealing bags and cartons tightly. Corrugated 
fiber boxes were generally used as shipping 

These commercial techniques, suitable to 
domestic distribution, were inadequate in the 
field. Early shipments of canned goods packed 
in commercial containers arrived at overseas 
destinations with cases broken open and the 
cans scattered loose in the holds of ships and 
over docks. 107 Furthermore, packages broke and 

103 Rpt, ASF Food Sv Conf, 11-14 Aug 43, address 
by Col Logan, p. 239. 

104 Rpt, Col Dill to Dir of Mil Ping Div, OQMG, 
n. d. (circa Apr 44), sub: Rpt on Travel to NATO, 
26 0ct-13 Dec 43. 

105 ( 1 ) For development of these items see SR&DL, 
Fruit and Vegetable Products, pp. 63-70. (2) SR&DL, 
A Report of Wartime Problems in Subsistence 
Research and Development, Vol. X, General Products, 
prepared by Capt Vernon M. White et al., November 

106 ( 1 ) For a thorough analysis of the develop- 
mental work in this field see Thatcher, Packaging and 
Packing. (2) SR&DL, A Report of Wartime Problems 
in Subsistence Research and Development, Vol. V, 
Subsistence Packaging and Packing, prepared by Maj 
Robert R. Melson et al., January 1947. 

107 For illustrations of the rigorous conditions to 
which subsistence packages were subjected see the 
comments of observers, analyzed in Thatcher, Packag- 
ing and Packing, pp. 1-13. 



spilled their contents, and foods in flexible 
packages picked up moisture. Subsistence losses 
due to the failure of packaging and packing 
materials at the beginning of the war were sub- 

The qualities required for military packaging 
and packing, gradually revealed during the 
progress of the war, were many and varied. 
Such subsistence packages had to provide ade- 
quate protection for a minimum of at least 
a year, in all kinds of weather and under all 
extremes of climate. Because of the excessively 
rough handling of shipping cases, packing 
materials had to be durable and rigid enough to 
permit stacking without crushing the case or its 
contents. They also had to be resistant to 
the effects of both high and low humidity and 
of water. Some foods contained ingredients 
requiring special properties in packaging mate- 
rials to afford protection against rancidity or 
against acid reaction with the package. Packag- 
ing and packing materials also had to be resist- 
ant to the destructiveness of molds, insects, and 
rats. At the same time wartime shortages com- 
pelled the QMC to avoid the use of scarce 
materials or those which were not adaptable to 
production with existing machinery. Finally 
packs had to be so designed as to conserve as 
much shipping space as possible. Meeting such 
rigid requirements challenged the ingenuity of 
experts in the QMC and industry. 

By the end of 1942 the Army had established 
the necessary military characteristics for sub- 
sistence packaging and packing materials. The 
translation of military characteristics into pre- 
cise functional requirements was a continuous 
process, for, as new materials were developed 
during the war, new requirements were formu- 
lated. By December 1942 the confusion in 
administrative responsibility had been clarified 
by vesting responsibility for packaging in the 
Research and Development Branch of the 
OQMG and the Subsistence Research Labora- 
tory, and responsibility for packing in the Pack- 

ing and Crating Section of the Storage and Dis- 
tribution Division, OQMG. 108 As a conse- 
quence, specifications on many items were 
prepared by 1943, and industry had acquired a 
better understanding of the Army's needs. 
During the last eighteen months of the war the 
QMC improved and refined its packaging and 
packing materials and types of containers. It 
also developed substitutes for some of the mate- 
rials which were becoming increasingly scarce, 
and amended specifications accordingly. 

In this developmental work, basic research 
on the qualities of a raw material was done 
either by private industry, trade associations, 
or government laboratories. The work on pack- 
aging and on the outer shipping container was 
closely correlated and the finished products 
were tested by the Subsistence Research Labora- 
tory and the Washington Package Research and 
Development Laboratory. When the specifica- 
tion for a new package was drafted, industry 
was consulted on any changes which might 
affect its conversion of equipment to the pro- 
duction of the new item, and the QMC 
co-operated fully in facilitating the change- 
over. 109 


Most of the packaging problems arose out of 
the necessity for conserving tin. The packaging 
of subsistence would have been greatly simpli- 
fied had there been no restrictions on the use of 
tin plate, inasmuch as hermetically sealed cans 
were the best means of packaging food. Unfor- 
tunately, tin was listed as a strategic material in 
1940 and Japanese conquests cut off most of the 
supply two years later. Quartermaster efforts 
were therefore devoted to conservation of this 
metal, which was accomplished by reducing the 

108 g ee a t>o vej p. 176. 

109 Ltr, Col Doriot, OQMG, to Reqmts Div, SOS, 
12 Mar 43, sub: Packaging Program, 400.162. 



thickness of the coating of standard tin plate, 110 
lowering the tin content of the solders, elim- 
inating the tin coating on keys, and using 
bonderized plate wherever possible. 111 The suc- 
cess of the conservation program as well as the 
development of a small supply of Bolivian tin 
made tin plate more available for essential mili- 
tary uses by January 1944, permitting the elim- 
ination of some substitute types of containers. 
For example, the use of composite fiber 
cans— -paperboard containers with metal ends— 
which had been utilized for packaging such 
items as hard candy, cocoa, gelatin, spices, des- 
sert powders, and tea, was discontinued as far 
as possible. Their performance in the field had 
been unsatisfactory and a large percentage of 
food spoilage had been reported from the 
North African and Pacific theaters. 112 

While tin conservation measures were pro- 
moted, steps were also taken to protect more 
adequately the tin cans in use. Reports from the 
theaters 113 indicated that cans were rusting 
under the severe conditions encountered, result- 
ing in the spoilage of large quantities of food. 
Paper labels, by holding moisture, accelerated 
rusting. In addition, the paper labels often 
became detached from the cans, making identi- 
fication of the contents difficult. These develop- 
ments, as well as the need for camouflage in 
combat areas, led to the decision to cover food 
cans with a corrosion-resistant coating and to 
replace the paper labels with an abbreviated 
statement of the contents embossed or 
imprinted in ink on the end or side of each 
can. 114 

To further the conservation program and to 
develop substitutes which in their own right 
could help to meet the great demand for pack- 
aging food products, the QMC investigated a 
variety of flexible packaging materials, such as 
cellophane, glassine, waxed papers, and foils, 
which were used as carton liners, wrappers, 
small" bags, and unit packages for combat 
rations. There was continuous developmental 

work in this field during the war years. 115 Illus- 
trative of this work was the development of 
laminated (bonded) foils and films. 

The most promising flexible packaging mate- 
rials were aluminum foil and pliofilm. Unfor- 
tunately, the shortage of the raw materials- 
aluminum for foil and crude rubber used in 
pliofilm— precluded the use of these materials, 
although a small quantity of aluminum foil was 
made available for packaging soluble coffee in 
certain of the special rations. When aluminum 
foil became available early in 1944, a laminated 
foil made from sulphite paper, aluminum foil, 
and kraft paper was developed and specified for 
use with the K ration. According to the Sub- 
sistence Research Laboratory the laminated foil 
wrap employed in the K ration carton was the 
chief example of an entirely adequate flexible 
package developed during World War II. 116 

110 By this means an estimated saving ot 4,588,000 
pounds was made by the summer of 1942. Ltr, Col 
Doriot, OQMG, to Dir of Resources Div, SOS, 8 Aug 
42, sub: Rpt by the Conservation Div, WPB, 400.3. 

111 (1) Thatcher, Packaging and Packing, pp. 30-40. 
(2) Any sheet steel plate suitable for manufacture into 
containers was known as black plate. To prevent cor- 
rosion it had to be lacquered, and the easiest way to 
make the lacquer stick was to treat the black plate at 
the steel mill in a zinc phosphate solution, a process 
which was called "bonderizing." This gave the steel a 
matte surface and formed a film affording protection 
against rust. Supplementary rpt, Advisory Com on 
Metals and Minerals, NRC, National Academy of 
Sciences, n. d. (circa Jun 42), sub: Conservation of 
Tin in the Food-Canning Industry. 

112 (1) Transcript of proceedings, mtg of Subcom 
of Container Coordinating Com on Fiber Boxes, 
Drums, and Cans, 10 Nov 43. (2) Ltr, Gen Gregory 
to all purchasing depots, 7 Apr 42, sub: Packing of 
Subs Items for Overseas Shpmt. 

115 (1) See, for example, ltr, Brig Gen F. Gilbrath, 
CG SFPE, to Col D. H. Cowles, OQMG, 9 Sep 42, no 
sub, quoting CG SOS, New Caledonia. (2) Rpt, 1st 
Lt R. L. Woodbury, QM Observer in SWP, 1 Feb-15 
May 43. 

114 (1) For a discussion of the procoating program 
see Thatcher, Packaging and Packing, pp. 41-45. (2) 
Cir Ltr 46, 9 Mar 43, sub: Permanent Identification 

1,5 For a discussion of this developmental work see 
SR&DL, Subsistence Packaging and Packing, pp. 37-48. 

116 Ibid., p. 48. 



At the beginning of the war other flexible 
packaging materials were available in large 
quantities but they were not exceptionally pro- 
tective. Development of materials with high 
water-vapor transfer resistance was a primary 
problem. Since cellophane and glassine did not 
have moisture protective qualities adequate for 
Army use, industry developed and the Sub- 
sistence Research Laboratory tested laminated 
sheets of these materials. After considerable 
experimentation industry developed improved 
materials by laminating two coated films 
together with a material similar to micro- 
crystalline wax. Such materials were widely 
used for packaging the smaller components of 
the special rations. 117 Although flexible packag- 
ing materials could not take the place of tin 
cans as the sole source of protection, these 
materials were important in providing inner 
packaging for overseas shipment of subsistence 

The use of flexible packaging materials as 
possible substitutes for tin cans was only one 
line of investigation pursued by the Subsistence 
Research Laboratory. Other methods of solv- 
ing the conservation problem were examined, 
among them the use of waterproof bags and 
wax-dipped cartons and boxes. The latter were 
used during the war for packaging D, K, jungle, 
five-in-one, and ten-in-one rations. Their suc- 
cessful use was the result of a continuous war- 
time developmental program initiated in 1941. 
It was concerned with methods of constructing 
the carton and with experimentation directed 
toward the development of new waxes. 118 Like 
other substitutes the wax-dipped carton did not 
offer a final solution to the problem of material 
shortages, but the wax-impregnated and coated 
folding carton was widely and satisfactorily 
used during World War II. 

The use of waterproof bags, whose chief 
value was in protecting foods by providing a 
barrier to moisture, afforded still another ap- 
proach to the problem of packaging foods satis- 

factorily without utilizing tin. Waterproof bags 
had not been widely employed as case liners be- 
fore World War II, but ultimately the use of 
three types was specified by the Chicago Quar- 
termaster Depot. Two of these— the Reynolds 
bag and the X-crepe bag — were developed and 
in large-scale production by mid-1942. 119 A 
third type, the two-ply case liner, was developed 
by industry and the SubsistenceResearch Lab- 
oratory in 1943. 12 ° 


Failure of shipping cases used for overseas 
movement caused the first major repercussion 
of the war insofar as packing was concerned. 
The first intimation that commercial corrugated 
fiber boxes were inadequate for Army use had 
come during maneuvers in the summer of 
1941. 121 Shipments to Iceland had further em- 
phasized their shortcomings, but a veritable 
storm of criticism followed deliveries to North 
Africa and the Pacific. The inadequacy of com- 
mercial boxes raised the problem of whether to 
pack subsistence supplies originally in more 
durable containers or simply to overpack com- 
mercial containers before shipment overseas. 
It was found impractical to purchase all canned 
goods in wooden or solid fiber containers. Over- 
packing, though considered unsatisfactory, at 
first appeared to be the only solution. In the 
fall of 1941 a definite program was evolved of 
using wirebound boxes for overpacking paper- 
board commercial containers. 122 

117 See Thatcher, Special Rations, passim, 

118 For the details of this technical development see 
SR&DL, Subsistence Packaging and Packing, pp. 65-78. 

119 For their development see Thatcher, Packaging 
and Packing, pp. 48-49. 

120 For its development see SR&DL, Subsistence 
Packaging and Packing, pp. 85-87. 

121 Memo, Brig Gen E. Reybold, Actg CofS, for 
TQMG, 11 Aug 41, sub: Containers for Canned Rat, 

122 ( 1 ) Ltr, Col Logan to QM Sup Off, SF Gen De- 
pot, 2 Dec 41, no sub. (2) Memo, Col Hardigg for 
TAG, 26 Dec 41, no sub. 



Two days after Pearl Harbor a general specifi- 
cation was issued by the Office of the Under 
Secretary of War for packing canned goods for 
overseas shipment. This stop-gap measure pro- 
vided for the use of corrugated and solid fiber 
boxes, nailed wooden boxes, and wirebound 
wooden boxes. 123 Since this was not in line 
with the policy of overpacking previously 
adopted, it is obvious that considerable confu- 
sion existed. During the winter of 1941-42, 
however, the various government agencies 
reached agreement on specifications for packing 
articles for overseas shipment that, for the most 
part, eliminated overpacking. The first compre- 
hensive set of directions for the packaging and 
packing of subsistence items for overseas ship- 
ment in the QMC was issued in April 1942. 124 
It permitted the use of either the new type of 
weatherproof solid fiber containers, or wire- 
bound or nailed wooden boxes. Later instruc- 
tions made clear that overpacking was to be re- 
tained only in the case of food in glass con- 

Except for the special rations, which were 
packed in nailed wooden boxes, it was the 
Quartermaster policy by the summer of 1942 to 
utilize weatherproof fiber containers in prefer- 
ence to wooden boxes. Their use saved weight, 
space, and cost. Field experience, however, dem- 
onstrated that the weatherproof fiber containers 
did not have sufficient strength when wet. More 
and more the trend was toward the use of 
wooden containers. Since the supply of wood 
was becoming critical, however, its use could 
not be viewed as a permanent solution. 

In June of 1942 the QMC was investigating 
the possibility of developing a new, durable 
fiber container in which to pack the five-in-one 
ration. l25 In their developmental work the Sub- 
sistence Research Laboratory and industry pur- 
sued new lines of investigation, including the 
use of an asphalt barrier lamination in the kraft 
paper used to construct the fiberboard and the 
utilization of sisal in the construction of the 

kraft paper itself. 126 The "sisal box" originated 
from this experimentation. 

Meantime the container industry worked to 
meet the challenge imposed by wartime condi- 
tions, developing a superstrength, all-kraft, 
solid fiber box. These boxes had many advan- 
tages. They withstood rougher handling than 
nailed boxes, hitherto considered the best con- 
tainers for overseas shipment. They took up less 
space than wooden boxes and their color was 
better for camouflage purposes. On the other 
hand, they lacked the rigidity of wooden boxes 
and hence did not stack as well. At the sugges- 
tion of the Chief, Packing and Crating Section, 
OQMG, the new material was dubbed "V- 
board." The development of V boxes represent- 
ed a major triumph of wartime research. 
Specifications for several new types of contain- 
ers made from these materials were issued on 
2 December 1942. Three grades of V board 
were used. The first grade, Vl, was made of 
virgin fiber. Its use was intended for boxes 
shipped to areas of heavy moisture. The V2 
grade combined both virgin and used fibers to 
produce containers destined for areas of moder- 
ate rainfall. The V3 grade was the poorest, 
merely increasing the protective qualities of the 
former weatherproof solid fiber box. 127 Al- 
though the grades of fiberboard were intended 
to be correlated with the moisture of given 

123 U. S. Army Spec 22-273, 9 Dec 41, sub: Gen 
Specs for Packing Canned Goods (Subs) for Overseas 
Shpmt (Boxes, Strapping, and Marking). 

124 QMC Tentative Spec 12-A, 27 Apr 42, sub: Gen 
Specs for Packing Overseas Shpmt, Canned Fruits and 
Vegetables and Other Items of Subs. 

125 SRL, Rpt of R&D Projects for Month Ending 31 
Aug 42, p. 2. 

126 (1) Ltr, Col Logan, OQMG, to CG CQMD, 16 
Aug 42, sub: Rpt on Five-in-One Ration by Desert 
Warfare Bd, 400.1141. (2) Memo, Col Doriot, 
OQMG, for Resources Div, SOS, 15 Sep 42, sub: Con- 
servation of Wood and Metal by Use of Fiber Con- 
tainers, 457. 

127 For a full discussion of the development of the 
V boxes see Thatcher, Packaging and Packing, pp. 



areas, in actual use it was impossible to control 
the delivery of boxes in the field in this way. In 
practice an effort was made to use Vl solid 
fiberboard boxes for the front lines and V3 
boxes for the rear. The critical shortage of kraft 
pulp that developed with the advent of V boxes 
contributed to delays in procurement, but the 
boxes were put into use as fast as they were pro- 
duced during the spring of 1943. C, D, and K 
rations continued to be packed in wooden boxes 
but other special rations were packed in V 

Burlap and osnaburg were other packing 
materials that became critical early in the war. 
It was commercial practice to pack flour, sugar, 
and salt in bags made from these materials. War 
shortages necessitated a search for substitutes. 
Multiwall paper bags, made of heavy virgin 
kraft paper, of three to five walls, intersticed 
with layers of asphalt to make them moisture 
proof, had been used commercially for packing 
cement and fertilizer. When the need for sub- 
stitutes arose, such multiwall bags were tested in 
the spring of 1942 and adapted by the QMC for 
packing flour and granular foods. 128 They were 
extensively used throughout World War II. 


In subsistence research as in other fields of 
Quartermaster developmental work, the decade 
following World War I was characterized by a 
dearth of activity, resulting in large measure 
from the lack of funds allotted for this purpose. 
The interest of Congress and of the public in 
national defense was at a low ebb. At the same 
time, military planning in subsistence was con- 
ditioned by the type of warfare conducted dur- 
ing World War I. The demands and problems 
of the "blitzkrieg" had not yet stirred the im- 
agination of military planners. By the mid- 
thirties, however, interest in preparation for 
national defense, including rations, began to 
revive. The Subsistence Research Laboratory 

was established and research was initiated, re- 
sulting in the development of the D and C ra- 
tions prior to the outbreak of World War II. 

Laboratory personnel were primarily con- 
cerned with the development of special rations, 
which also involved considerable work on pack- 
aging. While the supply of perishables involved 
problems of procurement and distribution, their 
use called for no research other than the appli- 
cation of principles of nutrition to the prepara- 
tion of menus. The development of special ra- 
tions involved many considerations. Neither 
subsistence personnel nor the food industries 
could be called experienced in ration design 
when World War II began. Out of experience 
obtained early in the war the laboratory formu- 
lated four requisites for a satisfactory ration: ac- 
ceptability, nutritional adequacy, stability, and 
military utility. 

At the outset of the war nutritional value was 
the primary requirement of special ration items. 
Subsistence personnel attempted to develop 
food components which would provide the 
greatest nutritive value in the smallest space 
and weight. Acceptability was of secondary im- 
portance. Although the Army never went to the 
extreme of sacrificing acceptability for nutritive 
value as, for example, by using soy beans for 
meat, nevertheless at times nutritive value was 
stressed at the expense of palatability. Actual 
experience demonstrated that troops would not 
eat what they did not like. No matter how per- 
fectly balanced a diet was provided in a special 
ration, its value was reduced if it was not com- 
pletely consumed. As the war progressed, al- 
though nutritive values continued to receive 
due consideration, greater stress was placed on 
acceptability. The development of the C ration 
from the old to the new type clearly illustrated 
this shift in objective. 
It is to be observed that other factors beyond 

128 A detailed account of the work accomplished in 
developing multiwall bags for Army use is found in 
Thatcher, Packaging and Packing, pp. 89-93. 



the control of the laboratory worked in opposi- 
tion to the principle of acceptability. While 
variety of components promoted acceptability, 
it was subordinated in the early stages of the 
war to procurement consideration. Items which 
could be obtained in great volume and from as 
many sources as possible were purchased. 
Throughout the war a conflict existed between 
quantity and quality. The lack of variety pro- 
moted monotony and was responsible for the 
stream of criticism that flowed into the QMC 
from the field. 

An initial insistence by Quartermaster plan- 
ners in 1941-42 upon the development of spe- 
cial rations for special troops was an ephemeral 
trend that characterized subsistence research as 
well as the development of clothing and equi- 
page. Illustrative were the rations developed for 
jungle and mountain troops. They gave way to 
the ten-in-one ration, suitable for group feeding 
in a variety of military situations. 

Weight and space were limiting factors not 
only in the development of packaged rations 
but also of meat products. These considerations 
led to the production of boneless beef and semi- 
boned pork loins for overseas use. They also 
stimulated renewed interest in the dehydration 
industry, which was greatly expanded through 
the co-operative efforts of the QMC. Dehy- 
drated fruit, vegetables, milk, and eggs were 
shipped abroad in large quantities, saving critir 
cal shipping space. Dehydration enabled the 
Corps to provide foods which otherwise might 
not have reached the field at all. 

Weight and space likewise were considera- 
tions in subsistence packaging and packing. The 

development of packaging and packing, suffi- 
ciently protective to permit distribution of 
foods in satisfactory condition at the consump- 
tion point, had to be accomplished, however, 
despite material shortages and the necessity for 
conservation. This not only imposed major 
limitations upon the form that the development 
of packaging and packing took, but also led to 
a search for substitutes to replace such critical 
materials as tin, aluminum foil, wood, burlap, 
and osnaburg. The development of flexible 
packaging materials that would be moisture re- 
sistant was stimulated, as well as the production 
of new packs far superior to anything utilized 
by industry before the war. Even these packs, 
however, were not indestructible. This fact 
stressed the necessity for more intensive train- 
ing to eliminate careless handling and storage 
of subsistence. The lack of an integrated re- 
search program between 1918 and 1941 was re- 
sponsible for the hurried experimentation and 
production of subsistence items during World 
War II. Nevertheless, the United States Army 
was well fed, although the rations issued to the 
troops were not always the best possible, in 
view of all the factors involved in ration plan- 
ning. Under the spur of criticisms from the 
field, subsistence personnel overcame the initial 
defects of their program. Unfortunately, experi- 
mentation was time consuming, and many of 
the best products developed by the laboratory 
failed to reach the field before the war ended. 
The concerted effort of industry and the QMC 
achieved gratifying results during the war, but 
a continuing research program in peace as well 
as in war would pay larger dividends. 


Forecasting War Requirements 
for Quartermaster Supplies 

A primary step in the logistical planning of 
the Army was the determination of war require- 
ments for the myriads of items that went into 
the supply line to provide for training and alert- 
ing units in the zone of interior and to sustain 
overseas combat operations during World War 
II. Insofar as Quartermaster supply was con- 
cerned, this included many thousands of items 
of clothing, equipment, subsistence, fuels and 
lubricants, and general supplies for which the 
OQMG forecast requirements from one to three 
years in advance of Army needs, but not items 
of reserve stock needs. 

The problem of supply in World War II was 
one of great complexity. It involved the supply 
of a large number of men who for the first time 
in our history were widely distributed, fighting 
in all kinds of climates and in geographic areas 
encircling the globe. This great dispersion com- 
plicated maintenance of the supply line. The 
multiplicity of equipment items furnished the 
American soldier also increased the difficulties 
of supply. Moreover, the United States not only 
supplied its own troops but also contributed ex- 
tensively to equipping those of its allies, a re- 
versal of the situation in World War I. Under 
lend-lease arrangements it shipped overseas a 
vast variety of both military and nonmilitary 
supplies. Subsequently, the necessity for provid- 
ing for civilians in liberated areas increased the 
supply responsibility of the Quartermaster 
Corps. All of these factors sharpened the need 

for forecasting requirements with the greatest 
degree of accuracy. 

In time of peace, industry and agriculture 
were able to fill the relatively small Army de- 
mands without benefit of advance planning. 
Even during the emergency period and the early 
phases of the war, when military requirements 
were increasing sharply as mobilization pro- 
gressed and industries were converting to war 
production, the lack of accuracy in forecasting 
requirements made little difference. The major 
problem was buying sufficient quantities to 
keep ahead of demand. Practically everything 
that could be produced could be used effectively 
by the armed forces. Any errors of oversupply 
could be and were absorbed by an army still in 
the process of expansion and needing to be ini- 
tially equipped. Once a stockpile had been 
built up and the filling of initial demands gave 
requirements personnel time to review develop- 
ments, a more careful balancing of supply and 
demand was necessary. As the Army approached 
its full strength, requiring primarily mainte- 
nance and the replacement of equipment, and 
as the problem of allocations of scarce materials 
to industry became acute, refinements in fore- 
casting requirements occurred. Since raw mate- 
rials and manpower were not inexhaustible and 
the maintenance of the civilian economy was 
essential to the prosecution of the war, accuracy 
in forecasting was underscored and new tech- 
niques for supply planning were adopted. 



Administrative Background 

The supply process from the computation of 
requirements through the manufacture and de- 
livery of supplies and equipment to the troops 
is an integrated whole, the control of which 
should be directed by a single head. At the be- 
ginning of World War II, however, the War 
Department did not have a proper system for 
the control of supply. Nor did it have in use 
proper methods for computing requirements, or 
uniformity of basic records. 1 These deficiencies 
had to be corrected during the course of the 

At the time of Pearl Harbor responsibility for 
the supervision of supply was divided between 
two independent offices of the War Department 
as provided by the National Defense Act in 
June 1920. The Office of the Under Secretary of 
War 2 was responsible for supervising the actual 
procurement of supplies. Purchasing policy, the 
determination of new production facilities, the 
control of the flow of raw materials, labor prob- 
lems, production expediting, and inspection all 
came within the scope of this authority. On the 
other hand, G-4 of the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff was responsible for determining sup- 
ply requirements of the Army and, after delivery 
was made, for supervising the storage, transpor- 
tation, distribution, and issue of supplies and 
equipment. Each of these offices dealt directly 
and separately with the supply services. Co-or- 
dination between G-4 and the Office of the 
Under Secretary of War was inadequate. As a 
result of this situation, it was not uncommon 
for a supply service to play one office against 
the other. 3 

World War I had emphasized the importance 
of forecasting requirements. The lack of ade- 
quate plans for industrial mobilization and pro- 
curement had been a costly experience, the 
repetition of which, it was realized, could not 
be permitted. As a consequence, the National 
Defense Act made the Assistant Secretary of 

War responsible not only for current procure- 
ment of Army supplies but also for the prepara- 
tion of plans for procurement and industrial 
mobilization to be used in the event of another 
major conflict. 

Disagreement immediately arose as to the 
division of responsibility between the Assistant 
Secretary of War and the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff. This problem was settled by making 
the General Staff responsible in procurement 
planning for the determination of supply re- 
quirements for the Army. In other words, under 
its mobilization plans the General Staff deter- 
mined the gross requirements of the Army— 
when supplies would be needed, and what 
quantities would be required. The Office of the 
Assistant Secretary of War controlled the com- 
putation of procurement requirements. From a 
computation of stocks on hand it determined 
the amount of additional supplies which would 
have to be procured to meet the demands of the 
General Staff. It also determined how and 
where such supplies might be procured within 
the time limits of the mobilization plan. Pro- 
curement requirements were the supply require- 
ments of the General Staff minus the stock on 
hand. 4 

Both the General Staff and the Assistant 
Secretary of War were dependent on the supply 
services for carrying out these functions. The 

1 Lecture, ICAF, Lt Gen LeRoy Lutes, 23 Sep 46, 
sub: The ASP, pp. 10-11. On file in Hist Sec, OQMG. 

2 Until 1941 this office was designated the Office of 
the Assistant Secretary of War. See WD Bull 1, Sec. 

I, 22 Jan 41, sub: Act of Congress— Apmt of USW 

5 ( 1 ) John D. Millett, The Organization and Role 
of the Army Service Forces, a volume in preparation 
for the series U.S. ARMY IN WORLD WAR II, Ch. 

II. On file in OCMH. (2) Millett, "The Direction of 
Supply Activities in the War Department: An Admin- 
istrative Survey, II," The American Political Science Re- 
view, XXVIII (June 1944), p. 494. 

4 (1) Harold W. Thatcher, Planning for Industrial 
Mobilization, 1920-1940 (QMC Historical Studies 4, 
August 1943), pp. 6-9. (2) See also Thomas M. Pit- 
kin and Herbert R. Rifkind, Procurement Planning in 
the Quartermaster Corps, 1920-1940 (QMC Historical 
Studies 1, March 1943), passim. 



services did the actual work of computing the 
supply requirements and also furnished the in- 
formation on the amount of stock on hand and 
the additional sources of supply. Under the Na- 
tional Defense Act of 1920 supply planning for 
war for the first time became a recognized func- 
tion of the OQMG, which computed Quarter- 
master war requirements to be used in various 
plans for mobilization drafted during the next 
twenty years. 

Within the OQMG the responsibility for 
the computation of such requirements, initially 
vested in the Executive Office, had by 1937 
come to be a function of the War Plans and 
Training Branch of the Administrative Divi- 
sion. 5 There it remained until January 1941. 
Quartermaster requirements computed for pro- 
curement planning purposes in the twenty-year 
interval of peace, however, were not used in 
World War II. Other estimates prepared by op- 
erating branches were used and the war plans 
were disregarded. Primarily this situation re- 
sulted from the fact that mobilization plans 
were drafted on the premise that they would be 
used at a specific time, whereas events devel- 
oped so gradually during the emergency period 
that problems were resolved by personnel in 
the operating divisions rather than by the 

Throughout this same twenty-year period the 
estimating of current Quartermaster require- 
ments of the Army was accomplished by the 
operating branches of the Supply Division. Al- 
though much had been learned during World 
War I, 6 in the interval between the wars the 
OQMG resumed its prewar system of estimat- 
ing requirements by the use of the Yearly 
Estimate of Funds— a statement of Quartermas- 
ter expenditures for the next fiscal year based on 
requests from the various Corps installations. It 
was prepared by the operating branches— Sub- 
sistence, Clothing and Equipage, and General 
Supplies— of the Supply Division to obtain con- 
gressional appropriations necessary for carrying 

on the normal peacetime functions of the 
Corps. By a system of apportionment the 
OQMG allotted funds to field installations in 
accordance with their requests. 

Until 1942 no successful attempt was made 
to combine the estimating of current require- 
ments with those for planning purposes so as 
to develop common methods and reports. 
When in January 1941 the war planning activ- 
ities of the Administrative Division were trans- 
ferred to the Planning and Control Division, 
the computation of requirements both for spe- 
cific plans and for current estimates was in- 
cluded in its mission. However, responsibilities 
for preparing estimates for current requirements 
were not withdrawn from the operating 
branches of the Supply Division and, in fact, 
were reaffirmed to them in May 1941. 7 As a con- 
sequence dual responsibility for requirements 
continued, and the Planning and Control and 
the Supply Divisions each prepared a set of re- 
quirements. Actual procurement, however, was 
not based on either set, both of which were de- 
signed for long-range planning— in the one 
case, for future mobilization plans and in the 
other, for current estimates on the basis of 
which congressional appropriations were ob- 
tained. Actual procurement instead rested on 
short-range requirements, prepared by the com- 
modity branches, on the basis of which action 
was taken to procure cloth or end items and to 
maintain proper stock levels and proper distri- 
bution of stock by the depots. 

5 (1) OQMG Office Memo 119, 30 Aug 21, sub: 
Orgn of OQMG. (2) OQMG OO 4, 7 Jan 37, 
sub: Office Orgn. (3) OQMG OO 10, 15 Jan 41, 
sub: OO 4, 1937 amended. 

6 For an analysis of the determination of require- 
ments in World War I see Donald F. Bradford, Meth- 
ods of Forecasting War Requirements for Quartermaster 
Supplies (QMC Historical Studies 14, May 1946), 
pp. 5-27. Hereafter referred to as Methods of Forecast- 

7 (1) OQMG OO 10, 15 Jan 41, sub: OO 4, 1937 
amended. (2) OQMG OO 25A, 31 Dec 41, sub: 
Orgn and Functions, Ping & Control Div. (3) OQMG 
OO 25F, 15 May 41, no sub. 



The duality of control in the OQMG and in 
the higher echelons of the War Department 
continued until March 1942 when the Army 
was reorganized into three major commands. 
In the process certain procurement and plan- 
ning functions of the Office of the Under Secre- 
tary of War and certain supply planning func- 
tions of the Office of the Assistant Chief of 
Staff, G-4, were combined and vested in Head- 
quarters, Services of Supply (later Army Service 
Forces). This concentration of the major phases 
of the supply process "under one top manage- 
ment had a tremendous influence on the Army 
Supply Program." 8 

Within the OQMG these changes were re- 
flected in the reorganization of the office along 
functional lines. The requirements functions 
of the Planning and Control Division were 
assigned to the Production Service, which was 
charged with the primary responsibility for 
requirements forecasting. The newly created 
Storage and Distribution Service, which took 
over the commodity branches of the Supply 
Division, was directed to collaborate with the 
Production Service in determining requirements 
to insure conformity to "actual experience 
factors." 9 

Within four months the Requirements Divi- 
sion of the Production Service was transferred 
as a branch to the Military Planning Division, 
where it remained during the war. In the mean- 
time, it had initiated a program to improve re- 
quirements forecasting by securing personnel 
trained in economics, statistics, and business 
methods and by obtaining the necessary data 
for making more accurate estimates. 

It was the primary function of the Require- 
ments Branch to compute requirements for the 
Army Supply Program (ASP), designed for 
fiscal purposes and as a guide to the War Pro- 
duction Board for long-range planning of the 
country's wartime production program. These 
long-range forecasts were for Quartermaster 
items of clothing, equipment, general supplies 

food, and, until the summer of 1943, petroleum 
products. Short-range requirements were com- 
puted by the commodity branches of the Stor- 
age and Distribution Division. Their actual 
operations were based not on the ASP but on 
the Master Production Schedule, changes in 
which were initiated by the operating branches, 
a system which provided for some flexibility, 
within the over-all limits of the ASP. 

In the process of computing requirements 
programs the Requirements Branch developed 
a fair degree of co-operation with the operating 
branches of the OQMG. The exception was the 
Subsistence Branch. Relations with this branch 
were complicated by the fact that the War De- 
partment designated its chief, Brig. Gen Carl 
A. Hardigg, as the official Army representative 
on all interagency food committees. 10 Petro- 
leum requirements also presented special prob- 
lems. As a consequence of the partial central- 
ization of petroleum procurement for the Army 
in the Fuels and Lubricants Division, which 
was established in May 1943, responsibility for 
petroleum requirements was vested in that divi- 
sion. Included were all Army petroleum re- 
quirements except fuels and lubricants used for 
Army Air Forces aircraft. 11 While the respon- 
sibilities of the Requirements Branch were re- 
duced by this action, they were expanded in 
another direction. Except for fuels and lubri- 
cants, the branch was given the additional re- 
sponsibility of estimating requirements for 
Quartermaster items for the civilian popula- 
tions of liberated areas. It also supplied Head- 
quarters, ASF, with advance estimates of ship- 
ping space and tonnage needed for such supplies 
and, for planning purposes, prepared potential 

8 Lecture, ICAF, Gen Lutes, 23 Sep 46, sub: The 
ASP, p. 3. 

9 OQMG OO 84, 31 Mar 42, sub: Orgn of OQMG. 

10 Ltr, Maj Gen Lucius D. Clay, ACofS for Materiel, 
to Roy Hendrickson, Dir of Food Distribution Admin- 
istration, Dept of Agriculture, 29 Jan 43, no sub. 

11 For discussion of both subsistence and petroleum 
requirements see sections in this chapter, below. 



requirements for civilian populations in terri- 
tories still held by the enemy. 12 

Theory of Forecasting Requirements 

The QMC tried to achieve balance between 
supply and demand by anticipating the quan- 
tity of goods it would be required to deliver to 
the troops at given periods of time. If demand 
were known far enough in advance to gear pro- 
duction to meet it, then the Army could be sup- 
plied without dislocating the civilian economy. 
Requirements had to be computed for both ex- 
pendable and nonexpendable items. The deter- 
mination of these requirements was based on 
different elements and each is therefore dis- 
cussed separately. Expendable items are illus- 
trated by subsistence and petroleum products. 
Nonexpendable items are represented by cloth- 
ing and equipment. The theory and the ele- 
ments underlying the computation of require- 
ments for nonexpendable items are analyzed 
first, but much of this discussion must neces- 
sarily be basic to the computation of all require- 

Estimating requirements always had to be ap- 
plied to definite periods of time, since it would 
be meaningless to say, for example, that the 
Army needed 10,000,000 pairs of shoes. The 
estimate would have to indicate the number of 
shoes required for a certain length of time. The 
determination of supply requirements was 
therefore the process of forecasting required 
production. Such procurement forecasting was 
complicated by the fact that it was based on a 
number of variables. Among the more impor- 
tant of these were troop bases, probable rate of 
induction and possible geographic distribution 
of troops, probable life of items, operational 
plans, possible overseas procurement, and losses 
due to enemy action. 

The military demand for nonexpendable 
items which Quartermaster forecasters sought 
to measure was comprised of three elements: 

initial issue, replacements, and distribution. 15 
Added together, these components stated total 
demand, or gross requirements for a specified 
period of time. To make a final estimate of new 
supplies needed, however, the amount of the 
stock on hand had to be determined and sub- 
tracted, giving the net requirements for the 
same period of time. The basic formula for 
computing requirements for nonexpendable 
items therefore stated that required production, 
or net requirements, was equal to total demand, 
or gross requirements, minus stock on hand. 14 
This is a highly simplified statement of the 
theory upon which the computation of require- 
ments was based. A closer examination of re- 
quirements forecasting will indicate some of the 
difficulties inherent in it as well as the nature 
of the modifications made by the Requirements 
Branch, OQMG, in its efforts to establish a 
scientific basis for estimating requirements. 

Elements in the Determination of Requirements 

Initial Issue 

The first of the elements in total demand was 
initial issue. Initial issues were the numbers of 
articles authorized by various Tables of Basic 
Allowances (T/BA's), Tables of Equipment 
(T/E's), and Tables of Allowances (T/A's) to 
be issued to an individual or organization for 
the first time. The T/BA listed the clothing and 
organizational equipment authorized for issue 
to individuals and units, to be taken with the 
organizations or individuals wherever located. 
The T/ A showed items of equipment not con- 
tained in the T/BA but which were needed by 

12 OQMG OO 25-56A, 2 Nov 43, sub: Establish- 
ment of Civ Supply Sec, Reqmts Br. 

13 Much of this discussion of theory and methods is 
based on (1) Bradford, Methods of Forecasting. (2) 
Dr. Sidney Hoos, Chief, Methods & Factors Sec, 
OQMG, Lectures on Elements of Quartermaster Re- 
quirements, Feb 44. A mimeographed copy is in the 
National War College Library. Hereafter referred to 
as Elements of QM Reqmts. 

14 Hoos, Elements of QM Reqmts, p. 2. 



the organizations in posts, camps, and stations. 
Such equipment— mattresses and barracks chairs 
for example— was not usually taken with a unit 
into the field or on change of station. The T/E, 
however, listed the items of equipment author- 
ized to be taken with an organization on change 
of station and, under normal conditions, into 
the field. 

Individual equipment was usually issued at 
reception centers and organizational equipment 
at the station at which the unit was activated. 
Initial issues were therefore partly determined 
by the rate of induction and the troop basis, 
which presented a detailed breakdown of the 
projected number of men and the number of 
each type of organization in the Army. 15 To 
compute initial-issue quantities for a given 
period of time, therefore, it was necessary to 
know the projected troop strength or troop basis 
and the probable authorized allowances for the 
period in question. The troop basis was pre- 
pared by the War Department General Staff, 
but it had to be combined with Tables of Or- 
ganization (T/O's) and various T/BA's and 
T/A's to obtain initial-issue requirements for 
organizational equipment and for items of indi- 
vidual clothing and equipment for the period 

The value of initial issues depended upon the 
accuracy with which the troop basis reflected 
the actual troop strength organization. Unfor- 
tunately, instead of one authoritative troop 
basis from which to compute requirements, 
several troop lists were prepared by different di- 
visions of the General Staff, with resulting in- 
consistencies. "One troop list prepared by G-3 
showed the activation of units, another prepared 
by the Operations Division showed the con- 
templated deployment, and still another planned 
sailing of units overseas. There was a tendency to 
buy on one basis and try to supply on another." 16 
At the end of the war there was still more than 
one troop basis, but some improvement had oc- 
curred. As the troop basis provided more and 

more specific information, forecasts of require- 
ments became more accurate. 

The troop basis prepared by G-3 stated the 
number of units of each type authorized to exist 
by a specified date in the future. From the T/O's 
forecasters obtained the number and classes of 
men, animals, and a few of the major items of 
equipment of military units. Forecasters had to 
know the number and grades of officers and 
enlisted men in order to determine the quanti- 
ties needed of such items as gloves or cook's 
clothing. The number and kinds of animals 
made it possible for them to determine the 
quantities needed of saddles, pack equipment, 
and similar items. Such equipment as motor ve- 
hicles had to be specified to enable them to 
determine, for example, the number of gasoline 
drums required. These tables were revised from 
time to time in the light of experience in the 

It would be inaccurate to assume that the use 
of these T/BA's and T/A's involved a relatively 
simple process of calculation in estimating 
initial-issue requirements. These tables were 
subjected to frequent revision with the result 
that estimates, requisitions, and issue were not 
always based on the use of the same table. 
Changes were constantly being made in the 
T/BA's. New items were added as they were 
developed, obsolete items were deleted, and 
authorized allowances were increased or de- 
creased as field experience dictated. Such changes 
generally reached the supply sergeant in the 
field months after they had been inserted in the 
T/BA. 17 His requisitions would therefore be 
based on one table while issue was made on 
another. From time to time the tables were gen- 

" Ibid., p. 4. 

16 Lecture, ICAF, Gen Lutes, 23 Sep 46, sub: The 
ASP, p. 5. 

17 Special Studies Sub-Sec, Reqmts Br, 28 Jul 43, 
sub: Rpt on Analysis of Reqmts, Study 5-28. This was 
a study of the time-lags between the date of an ASF 
authorization of a change in allowances in T/BA's and 
the date of field change. 



erally revised. During the period of the emer- 
gency each arm or service had its T/BA — four- 
teen in all. By the fall of 1941 the difficulties of 
computation for the issue of Quartermaster 
items had become so great that simplification of 
the tables was a necessity. The OQMG pre- 
pared a consolidated table which listed all 
Quartermaster items of clothing and individual 
equipment for issue to troops, regardless of arm 
or service. This table was issued by the War 
Department as T/BA 21 on 1 October 1941, 
covering clothing and individual equipment. 

Items of organizational equipment remained 
in the T/BA's of the respective arms and 
services, but since they were fewer in number 
they were somewhat easier to handle. Subse- 
quently, early in 1943, T/E's replaced the 
cumbersome T/BA's, excepting T/BA 21. 18 
Tables of Equipment included the initial allow- 
ances for only one designated type of organiza- 
tion in the Army instead, as in the old T/BA's, 
of allowances for all types of units of an entire 
arm or service. Within a short time these new 
tables were combined with the T/O's to pro- 
vide Tables of Organization and Equipment 
(T/O&E's), thereby simplifying the work of 
the supply officer in the field. 19 

Issuance of T/BA 21 marked progress toward 
simplification, but it was rapidly nullified by the 
adoption of special clothing for the many new 
types of organizations, such as parachute units 
and amphibious troops. This produced a com- 
plicated table that not only confused computa- 
tion of requirements but resulted in supply dif- 
ficulties in the field. Developments reached 
their peak about mid-1942 and again empha- 
sized the problem of simplification. It was 
attacked this time by the Requirements Branch 
from the angle of climatic distribution of the 
troops, and the co-operation of the Research 
and Development Branch was sought in con- 
nection with its environmental protection 
studies. A new table was prepared and pub- 
lished by the War Department on 10 March 

1943 as Table of Equipment 21. This table was 
used until the end of the war. In theory at least, 
it permitted determination of issue to be made 
at a glance since all items of issue were listed 
and the quantities entered under three col- 
umns—Arctic, Temperate Climate, and Trop- 
ics—according to the amount of each item 
authorized for the type of climatic region 

Although simplification had been promoted, 
T/A's were not always clear-cut or simple to 
use. Generally allowances were related to man- 
power, being expressed as the quantity of each 
item per individual. But World War II was 
global in nature, and highly specialized equip- 
ment was used by the Army. Authorized allow- 
ances for each piece of equipment also had to 
be related to a particular unit of the Army, to a 
specific use, to special areas, and to particular 
periods of time. 20 Some articles were issued only 
for a particular occupation or duty assignment. 
For example, because of the nature of his work, 
each mechanic was furnished a mackinaw. The 
problem was further complicated by the fact 
that some articles were issued at the discretion 
of the commanding general of the theater of 
operations. Special considerations, such as the 
intensity of climate or the logistical situation, 
dictated such issues. Thus, where the glare of 
the sun was too great for ordinary vision to 
withstand, sun glasses were authorized for issue 
by the commanding general of the theater. A 
certain clairvoyance was needed by Quarter- 
master forecasters in trying to "prognosticate 
the Commanding Officers' thinking" in such 
cases. 21 

Wherever a qualification to an allowance 
existed, it was necessary to establish an "initial 
factor." Tables of Basic Allowances provided for 

18 (1) AR 310-60, 12 Oct 42, sub: T/O's, Tables 
of Distribution, T/E's, T/B's, and T/A's. (2) Ibid., 
change 1, 8 Jan 43. 

19 WD Cir 129, 1 Jun 43, sub: T/O&E's. 

20 Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 71. 

21 Hoos, Elements of QM Reqmts, p. 4. 



the issue of two pairs of service shoes, but each 
inductee did not automatically receive these 
shoes. The issue was regulated by the type of 
work to which he was assigned. Instead of deriv- 
ing initial issue through multiplying the allow- 
ance by the number of inductions listed in the 
troop schedule, a weighted average initial factor 
was computed from past experience. Supposing 
that the forecaster was concerned with the 
initial issue of service shoes in 1943, he would 
ascertain the number issued as initial issue in 
1942 and then by dividing that figure by the 
number of inductees for that year, he would have 
an average initial factor that could be applied 
against the number of inductees contemplated 
in 1943. 22 The difficulties of determining an ac- 
curate initial factor increased when representa- 
tive experience in issue was not available, or 
when the bases of issue were so complex as to 
render past data valueless for interpretative 
purposes. 23 


The second element in calculating military 
demand was replacement. 24 Items of clothing 
and equipment initially issued to the troops 
wore out under the strain to which they were 
subjected during training as well as in combat 
where they were exposed to all the destructive 
forces of battle. In many instances they were 
lost, pilfered, or destroyed before they could be 
used. Replacement was, therefore, the estimate 
of the quantities of items needed to replace 
losses and maintain the full complement of 
initial issues of most items at all times. In esti- 
mating total military demand, replacement be- 
came the controlling influence when the Army 
reached its full strength. Except for inductions 
of men necessary to maintain the Army at its 
authorized strength, initial issues ceased. Pro- 
curement then was largely concerned with fill- 
ing replacement needs. The replacement ele- 

ment was not only important for forecasting 
consumption but also for maintaining stock 
levels which were computed on the basis of re- 
placement issues rather than initial issues after 
the strength of the Army was stabilized. 25 

In estimating the quantities of replacements 
that would be needed, Quartermaster forecasters 
made use of replacement factors. A replacement 
factor was expressed as a percentage figure to 
indicate for each authorized allowance of initial 
issue the rate per month at which it disappeared 
in the hands of troops through wear, tear, con- 
sumption, and loss. For example, if the author- 
ized initial allowance of cotton khaki shirts was 
four per man and experience showed that, on 
the average, they lasted two years, then the 
monthly replacement factor was 4.2 percent. In 
other words the four shirts wore out at the 
average rate of 4.2 percent per month, and two 
shirts would, on the average, have to be re- 
placed at the end of a year. 26 

This percentage replacement factor was one 
of two general types of factors used in forecast- 
ing requirements. It was used for determining 
requirements for nonexpendable items. How- 
ever, in estimating requirements for expendable 
items, such as soap, as well as for subsistence, 
a consumption factor was used. Unlike the re- 
placement factor, the consumption factor was 
not a rate expressed in terms of percentage but 
was instead expressed in terms of the consump- 
tion of a specific number of units of an item by 
a specific number of men during a particular 

22 Ibid., p. 7. 

23 For further elaboration see Bradford, Methods of 
Forecasting, pp. 73-74. 

24 Until the fall of 1943 this element was also re- 
ferred to as maintenance. WD Cir 297, 13 Nov 43, 
Sec. II, sub: Maint— Change in Terminology. 

25 (1) Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 75. (2) 
Lecture, Dr. Sidney Hoos, Deputy Chief of Reqmts 
Br, OQMG, 1945, sub: The Development and Revi- 
sion of Repl Factors. 

26 (1) Ibid. (2) Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, 
p. 76. 



period of time, usually per month. Thus, if the 
consumption factor for soap was 1,350 pounds 
per 1,000 men per month, then on the average 
each group of 1,000 men had to be supplied 
with 1,350 pounds of soap each month. 27 

Replacement and consumption factors were 
also divided into zone of interior and theater of 
operations categories. The former reflected re- 
placement or consumption experience at posts, 
camps, and stations in this country, whereas 
theater factors reflected combat conditions in 
the theaters. During the course of the war, 
theater factors came to be subdivided into a dif- 
ferent factor for each theater. By the end of the 
war there were a number of factors in use for 
each initial allowance of an item. 

During the war years not only was the con- 
cept of replacement factors considerably refined, 
but accuracy was also increased by the expan- 
sion of data on replacement experience in the 
zone of interior and in the major theaters of 
operations. One of the major problems con- 
fronting Quartermaster requirements personnel 
was the determination and measurement of the 
elements influencing the replacement factor. 
This difficulty arose partly out of the definition 
of the term "life expectancy," which combined 
the incompatible ideas of wear and tear and 
combat loss. 

The expected life of an item of equipment is its 
estimated average length of serviceable life from 
the time of its original issue to total loss or un- 
serviceability. The actual life may vary from zero, 
in the case of an item destroyed or lost on its first 
day of issue, to a period greatly in excess of its 
expected life when the item is used under the most 
favorable conditions of upkeep and wear. 28 

The first efforts of the Requirements Branch, 
OQMG, were directed towards measuring the 
rate of wear and tear. Progress in improving the 
accuracy of factors was delayed because empha- 
sis during the period of an expanding army was 
on initial issue and not on replacement. 
Throughout 1942 and during much of 1943 

most of the armed forces were in this country. 
Replacements were needed only for losses sus- 
tained in training and during maneuvers. Insofar 
as battle losses were concerned, it was assumed 
that theater rates would be generally twice the 
zone of interior rates. This was a practice 
inherited from peacetime planning. 29 

Many new items for which no experience 
existed were developed in the early years of the 
war. For such an item the Requirements Branch 
established a replacement factor for the zone of 
interior as close as possible to that already ap- 
proved for a comparable article. However, the 
accuracy of previously established factors was 
open to question. The only data available for 
verifying that accuracy were the reports of total 
shipments contained in the records of distribut- 
ing depots. These were not always reliable and 
did not distinguish between issue for initial sup- 
ply and issue for replacement. In other words, 
in 1942 no scientific method for determining 
realistic factors had been evolved. 

The OQMG was aware of this need and at- 
tacked the problem in the summer of that year. 
To check the accuracy of existing records, it di- 
rected the Quartermaster Board at Camp Lee to 
examine stock records at that camp and derive 
replacement factors from them. 30 As the year 
ended the Requirements Branch had initiated 
field studies which were broader in scope. Field 
survey teams began in September to collect ex- 
perience data on which to base replacement 
rates. On the basis of their findings many 
Quartermaster replacement factors were re- 
duced. In this activity the Quartermaster Gen- 
eral set the pace for the Army. The Corps was 
using such teams in the zone of interior before 
the policy was extended by Headquarters, ASF, 

27 Lecture, Hoos, 1945, sub: Development and 
Revision of Repl Factors. 

28 AGO Memo S 700-9-43, 20 Feb 43, sub: De- 
termination and Use of Maint Factors and Distr. 

29 Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 77. 

50 Ltr, Col D. H. Cowles to Pres, QM BD, 19 Aug 
42, sub: Verification of Maint Factors. 



in 1943 to all technical services. 31 The introduc- 
tion of the Stock Control System in June of that 
year made provision for monthly reports which 
subsequently supplied data on replacement 
issues to troops at posts, camps, and stations, on 
the basis of which revisions of zone of interior 
factors were made thereafter periodically. 

The development of accurate theater factors 
was equally essential. At the beginning of the 
war a single over-all factor was used to deter- 
mine requirements for replacements in the 
theaters of operations. As early as the summer 
of 1942, however, the Requirements Branch, 
OQMG, regarded this as an oversimplification 
of the problem of determining requirements. 32 
Variations in climate and terrain demanded that 
the theaters of operations be divided into sev- 
eral areas. The branch proposed six such areas, 
but until 1944 Headquarters, ASF, refused to 
permit their establishment on the theory that 
any variations in the rate of deterioration aris- 
ing from geographic conditions would be offset 
by the use of an average factor. 33 

The application of an average factor to the 
needs of a theater of operations was also ques- 
tioned by Quartermaster requirements person- 
nel. 34 There was as much difference, it was con- 
tended, between the use of items and their life 
expectancy in the areas comprising a theater as 
among the different theaters of operations. Each 
theater was divided into a combat area and a 
supply or noncombat area. It would have been 
more accurate to establish a factor for each of 
these areas. Certainly the amount of wear and 
tear in some parts of a theater of operations was 
no greater than in the zone of interior. This 
argument was partially accepted by the ASF in 
the August 1943 ASP, when zone of interior re- 
placement rates were applied to inactive 
theaters, such as the Caribbean Defense 

It was not until the spring of 1943 that ASF 
interest in theater replacement factors was 
emphasized. As a consequence no provision had 

been made for obtaining loss and expenditure 
rates in the North African campaign. The 
OQMG had been interested in acquiring such 
data but could send no teams overseas until 
officially directed to do so in June 1943. 36 By 
directive at that time each technical service sent 
specially trained officers into the theaters to 
collect the required data for selected items of its 
issue. Each theater commander was responsible 
for submitting complete data on replacement 
issues in monthly and quarterly reports to the 
ASF. The QMC again took the initiative. It was 
the first service to organize and utilize replace- 
ment-data teams. Quartermaster teams made an 
outstanding record in compiling data on re- 
placement and expenditure rates resulting from 
combat conditions. 37 

The data supplied by the theater reports 
covered all issues to troops except initial sup- 
ply, losses due to spoilage and shrinkage, quan- 
tities repaired for stock or for reissue, and 
initial issues for the period covered by the re- 
port. By the fall of 1943 such reports were being 

31 (1) Reqmts Div, ASF, Manual, July 1943, sub: 
Determination and Use of Maint Factors and Distr, 
pp.1 1-12. (2) Hist rpt, Lt Col Simon M. Frank, The 
Determination of Army Supply Requirements, n. d., 
p. 122. This is a typescript report, accompanied by 4 
volumes of documents, on file in OCMH. 

32 Lecture, Hoos, 8 Jul 42, sub: Method of De- 
termining Reqmts. 

33 Memo, Col L. A. Denson, Dir of Reqmts Div, 
ASF, for TQMG et a I., 22 May 44, sub: Computation 
of Sec. I, ASP, 1 Aug 44, 400.314. 

34 Hoos, Elements of QM Reqmts, p. 9. 

35 Memo, Brig Gen W. A. Wood, Jr., Dir of Reqmts 
Div, ASF, for TQMG et al., 15 Jun 43, sub: Computa- 
tion of Reqmts, Sec. I, ASP, 1 Aug 43, 400.314. 

36 Memo, Actg TAG for CinC, SWPA, et a/., 24 Jun 
43, sub: Determination of Maint Factor and Rates of 
Consumption and Expenditure, AG, 400 (21 Jun 43) 

37 ( 1 ) Frank, The Determination of Army Supply 
Requirements, p. 121. (2) For an elaboration of their 
work see Lt Sidney Karasik and Lt Robert Stott, 
"Quartermaster Replacements in the North African 
Theater," QMR, XXIV (November-December 1944), 
28, 120. (3) Maj William G. Ashmore, "Supply 
Planning for Beachhead Operations," QMR, XXIV 
(January- February 1945), 18. 



received in sufficient numbers to warrant their 
use as a basis for procurement estimates. 38 
Innumerable revisions were made in replace- 
ment factors, a large percentage of which were 
downward. More accurate and realistic theater 
replacement factors were developed. As a con- 
sequence special factors were set up for the 
ETO, MTO, SWPA, CPA, and CBI. 39 The over- 
all replacement factor for all theaters with 
which forecasters had begun their work was 
superseded in the supply and demand studies by 
a much more realistic different factor for each 
theater for which issue experience became 

Distribution Requirements 

The third basic element in the computation 
of requirements for nonexpendable items was 
the stock level. Variously referred to as "distri- 
bution," "pipeline," "carry-over," "working 
stock," and "inventory," this term meant the 
amount of stock which had to be on hand at 
any particular point in time to serve as a work- 
ing inventory and as a reserve. Since the sum- 
mer of 1942 the Requirements Branch had cen- 
tered its attention upon this element. As in all 
cases it questioned the validity of each general 
assumption whenever it was based on "accepted 
procedure" rather than upon statistical analysis 
or the operating needs of the QMC. Thus it 
rejected the distribution factors inherited from 
the war planning agencies. 

In mobilization planning, requirements for 
distribution had presumably been computed by 
percentages known as distribution factors which 
were derived from past experience. Such distri- 
bution requirements represented an allowance 
for additional stock necessary to fill the pipe- 
line, to provide goods in transit, and to allow 
depots a working inventory. Where size tariffs 
were applicable, the factor was increased in 
proportion to the number of sizes listed in the 
tariff table. These distribution factors were then 

applied to the sum of initial and maintenance 
requirements for the period having the largest 
requirements, which in mobilization planning 
was the first month. Application of the distribu- 
tion factor only to the first period was based 
on the theory that distribution requirements be- 
came frozen stock and that once this stock had 
been established for the maximum amount to 
be distributed in any one period, it remained 
available. 40 This concept was accepted and in- 
corporated by Headquarters, SOS, in its direc- 
tive for computing the 1 September 1942 ASP 
but was even more restrictive in that it limited 
application of distribution factors only to initial 
requirements. 41 

The computation of requirements for distri- 
bution by this factor method was rejected by 
the Requirements Branch, OQMG, as basically 
unsound. The distribution factors which had 
been inherited were inadequate, logically un- 
sound, and statistically indefensible. As supply 
lines lengthened and stockage points increased, 
they were too inelastic for determining the 
quantities of distribution required. The Army 
distribution process involved the establishment 
of stocks as working inventories at several sup- 
ply points. In the zone of interior, stocks in 
general moved from factory to depots and 
thence to posts, camps, and stations for issue to 
the enlisted man. If the stocks were destined for 
a theater of operations, they were normally 
shipped from factory to filler depot, to port of 
embarkation, to port of debarkation, to base de- 
pot, intermediate depot, and advance depot, and 
thence to supply dumps of the armies where 
eventual issue to the soldier took place. Not 

38 [1st ind] Col Cowles, OQMG, to Dir of Stock 
Control Div, ASF, 22 Sep 43, sub: Maint Factors. 

39 Ltr, TAG to CinC, SWPA, et al, 11 Jul 44, sub: 
Determination of Repl Factors, Rates of Consumption 
and Expenditures, AG 400 (7 Jul 44) OB-S-C-M. 

40 Maj George H. Horkan, "The Computation of 
Requirements," QMR, XIX (March-April 1940), 58. 

41 Memo, Dir of Reqmts Div, SOS, for TQMG 
et al., 15 Jul 42, sub: Recomputation of Sec. I, Equip, 
Ground Reqmts for ASR 



only were supplies needed to start and maintain 
a normal flow but also they had to be available 
at all these supply points to insure continuation 
of that flow. The distribution factor, however, 
was static and inflexible. "It was valid for all 
points in time only if troops in the areas, the 
rate of inductions, and the supply system re- 
mained constant." 42 Obviously such a combi- 
nation was unlikely to occur in modern warfare. 

During the summer and fall of 1942 the Re- 
quirements Branch had developed a procedure 
for estimating stock needs called the "carry-over 
method," 43 which stated supply levels in terms 
of days and would reflect the expansion and 
contraction of inventories as required by supply 
operations. This method of computing distri- 
bution had grown out of the need for flexibility 
and a more accurate knowledge of stock levels. 
By this method distribution requirements for 
nonexpendable items were computed by multi- 
plying cumulative initial-issue requirements for 
any given period by the replacement factor for 
the given item, and then multiplying the result 
by a figure representing the number of months 
of maintenance or replacement authorized by 
the War Department to maintain the desired 
stock level. Instead of distribution referring to 
percentage distribution based with reference to 
initial issue as in the SOS directive, the OQMG 
proposed to make distribution refer to carry- 
over based on established stock levels expressed 
in terms of months. Since supplies tied up in 
storage and in transit varied according to 
changes in the military program and could not 
be reduced to a predetermined distribution fac- 
tor, flexibility was promoted by the carry-over 
method. 44 

The carry-over method would not have been 
completely accurate without a careful consider- 
ation of the size-tariff problem. As a conse- 
quence a size-tariff adjustment for sized items 
was incorporated in distribution as determined 
by the carry-over method. The development of 
the size- tariff adjustment factors, although large- 

ly a mathematical and statistical problem, was 
extremely important in determining how much 
stockage must be carried at various points in 
the pipeline. 45 

The OQMG proposed including a further re- 
finement in the theory of distribution. This was 
the classification of all Quartermaster items into 
four groups depending upon their importance 
to the combat function. The more essential the 
item the higher the distribution level author- 
ized. Thus service shoes would be in Group I 
and handkerchiefs in Group IV. However,, no 
reduction by reason of decreased importance of 
the item was made in stock levels established 
for initial issue because the rate of induction 
changed so frequently that supply had to be as- 
sured for this allowance. 

At a conference on 13 July 1942, attended by 
representatives of both the Requirements Divi- 
sion, SOS, and the OQMG, the latter registered 
their objections to the existing method of com- 
puting distribution requirements and outlined 

42 (1) See Chart 9- For the various supply points 
see Charts 10 and 11. (2) Bradford, Methods of Fore- 
casting, p. 35. (3) Hoos, Elements of QM Reqmts, 
pp. 13ff. 

43 The practical development of this method grew 
out of the remarkably co-operative teamwork of the 
requirements group. Although Dr. Hoos, Chief, 
Methods and Factors Section, Requirements Branch, 
participated in a leading way in the development of 
the carry-over method, many others played helpful 
and significant roles in its administrative development 
and modification. In collaboration with Col. Henry W. 
Bobrink, Dr. Hoos also developed the idea that stock 
level needs should vary in accordance with the im- 
portance of the item to combat operations. 

44 ( 1 ) Memo, Maj Gen E. B. Gregory for CG SOS, 
23 Jul 42, sub: Supplemental Computation of ASP. 
(2) Memo, Col Cowles, OQMG, for Reqmts Div, 
SOS, 21 Oct 42, sub: Proposed Method for Recom- 
puting Sec. I, ASP, dated 9 Oct 42, 400.314. 

45 (1) Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, pp. 82-85. 
(2) Hoos, Elements of QM Reqmts, pp. 16, 27. (3) 
Lecture, Hoos, n. d., sub: Explanation of Size Tariff 
Factor Used in Deriving Depot Stock Levels. (4) Rpt, 
Methods & Factors Sec, Reqmts Br, OQMG, 2 Jul 45, 
sub: Determination of Depot Stock Levels Based on 
Operating Experience. 









the carry-over method. 46 Although refused per- 
mission to use this method in computing Quar- 
termaster requirements for the 1 September 
1942 ASP, the OQMG prepared an alternative 
program in the hope that the advantages of the 
new method would be recognized by Headquar- 
ters, SOS. After this program was submitted on 
7 September, conferences were held between 
representatives of the OQMG and Headquar- 
ters, SOS, which resulted in acceptance of the 
Quartermaster method of computing distribu- 
tion requirements but not of the levels proposed 
nor of the idea of grouping items by their im- 
portance to the combat function. The QMC 
supply program prepared by the carry-over 
method was not published by Headquarters, 
SOS, because an acute shortage of certain criti- 
cal raw materials led to an economy drive in the 
fall of 1942. It was used, however, as a planning 
document by the OQMG in preparing contracts 
and delivery schedules for end items and con- 
tributory material. 47 

It was the persistence of the Requirements 
Branch, OQMG, that won gradual adoption of 
the carry-over method by Headquarters, ASF. 
The directive for the February 1943 ASP did 
not accept this method. With Headquarters' 
permission, however, the OQMG calculated 
and used realistic distribution factors employ- 
ing most of the elements used in the carry-over 
principle. If not officially recorded in a direc- 
tive, in substance the method was accepted. In 
the directive for the August 1943 ASP, however, 
Headquarters, ASF, for the first time gave offi- 
cial recognition to the carry-over principle of 
estimating stock requirements by directing the 
use of this method by all technical services. 48 

Evolution of the Army Supply Program 

In a narrow sense the ASP may be defined as 
a printed document which periodically set forth 
during World War II the requirements of the 
Army for supplies and equipment. Broadly de- 

fined, however, it was a system developed dur- 
ing the war for 

estimating the future needs of the Army for sup- 
plies and equipment, correlating these needs with 
assets already in the hands of the Army, and coor- 
dinating them with production capabilities in 
terms of facilities, raw materials, components, 
manpower; governing and scheduling purchasing 
and production; adjusting pricing, and controlling 
stockages and stock levels. 49 

The ASP evolved gradually. In 1939 War 
Department requirements for equipment, muni- 
tions, and supplies were determined by the use 
of what was called the "Rearmament and Re- 
equipment Program." This program had been 
started by G-4 in the fall of 1932. It was a 
limited and unrefined statement of procurement 
needs which was designed to provide for the 
existing strength of the Regular Army and Na- 
tional Guard units. 50 

During the period of emergency, budget and 
equipment preparation activities of the War 
Department were delayed reactions to adverse 
events in Europe. A number of increases were 
made in the authorized strength of the Army 
necessitating recomputations of requirements. 
The big expansion, however, came with the col- 
lapse of France in the early summer of 1940. 
Then, on the recommendation of a special com- 

46 Min of mtg concerning reqmts for ASP, 13 Jul 42, 

47 ( 1 ) Memo, Dir of Reqmts Div, SOS, for TQMG, 
16 Oct 42, sub: Supplemental Computation of Sec. I, 
ASP. (2) Memo, TQMG for Dirs of S&D, Fiscal, Sv 
Instls, and Procurement Divs, OQMG, 17 Nov 42, 
sub: QMC Reqmt Program for Planning Purposes, 

48 Memo, Actg Dir of Reqmts Div, ASF, for TQMG 
et al., 15 Jun 43, sub: Computation of Reqmts Sec. I, 
ASP, 1 Aug 43, 400.314. 

49 Lecture, ICAF, Gen Lutes, 23 Sep 46, sub: The 
ASP, p. 1. 

50 (1) Lecture, ICAF, Maj Simon Frank, 17 Jan 45, 
sub: History of the Army Requirements Program, pp. 
4-5. On file at Hist Sec, OQMG. (2) See also a more 
extended account in Frank, The Determination of 
Army Supply Requirements, pp. 3ff. 



mittee appointed by the President, Army re- 
quirements were raised to nearly six billion dol- 
lars. This program of 30 June 1940 was the first 
of the munitions programs. To control the un- 
precedented expenditure, an "Equipment Ex- 
penditure Program" was developed by G-4 of 
the General Staff. It was intended to facilitate 
the administration of the Munitions Programs. 
The first of this series of Expenditure Programs 
was published on 12 August 1940 and the last 
on 30 June 1942. Thereafter the ASP became 
the means for authorizing procurement. 51 

In effect the Expenditure Programs were a 
breakdown of the monies appropriated by Con- 
gress for supplies and equipment for the Army 
into specific items or categories of items and 
quantities which the procuring services were 
authorized to buy after G-4 approval of the 
programs. They were, however, an inadequate 
means of governing the supply program of the 
Army. They were limited in scope and did not 
cover all necessary items nor did they indicate 
when the items would be needed, whether in 
1941, 1942, or 1944. In other words, they were 
not phased in time, a fact which compelled a 
revision of the program when the United States 
entered the war. Although these programs were 
inadequate as a basis for production planning 
and scheduling and for determining the Army's 
needs for raw materials and industrial facilities, 
they were a "meager but important beginning 
in determining the requirements of the Army 
and translating these requirements into feasible 
production schedules." 52 

The attack on Pearl Harbor in December 
1941 necessitated the establishment of time ob- 
jectives for the procurement program. Aware- 
ness of this need had been growing in various 
quarters. In September 1941 Donald M. Nelson, 
then Executive Director of the Supply, Prior- 
ities, and Allocations Board (SPAB) sought a 
more realistic approach to the problem of set- 
ting procurement objectives. His goal was to 
relate over-all requirements to the supply of 

materials and to the productive capacity of 
available facilities. He requested information 
from the Secretary of War on the Army's sched- 
ule of requirements by quarter periods to be 
sent to the Office of Production Management. 53 

In the meantime the War Department Gen- 
eral Staff was preparing a revised troop basis 
estimating the force required to defeat the 
country's potential enemies. On the basis of 
this troop schedule a supply program known as 
the "Victory Program" was completed and 
transmitted early in October to the OPM. After 
7 December 1941 the need to set up time ob- 
jectives for the procurement program became 
urgent. On 27 December a revised troop basis, 
indicating the periods in which units would be 
activated, was obtained. The supply program 
computed on the basis of this troop schedule 
was completed in February 1942. It was called 
the "War Munitions Program" but was never 
authorized for procurement because its require- 
ments were too high to be met. It proved to be 
in the nature of a "dry run" edition of the ASP. 
In addition to stating production goals in terms 
of calendar-year periods, it had other desirable 
features, namely, the incorporation of Navy and 
lend-lease requirements. 54 

An immediate revision of this program was 
called for by the Office of the Under Secretary 
of War and G-4. 55 Such revision was dictated 
by production possibilities and the availability 

51 Memo, Hq SOS for TQMG et al., 22 Jul 42, sub: 
Equip Expenditure Program. 

52 Lecture, Gen Lutes, 2 3 Sep 46, sub: The ASP, 
p. 2. 

» (1) Memo, Nelson for SW, 17 Sep 41, sub: Mili- 
tary Reqmts and Probable Production of Finished 
Products. (2) See Mark S. Watson, Chief of Staff: Pre- 
war Plans and Preparations, in U. S. ARMY IN 
WORLD WAR II (Washington, D. C, 1950), pp. 
33 Iff. 

54 Frank, The Determination of Army Supply 
Reqmts, pp. 17-20. 

55 ( 1 ) Memo, OUSW for Chiefs of Sup Arms and 
Svs, 5 Feb 42, sub: Equip Sec of ASP. (2) Memos, 
ACofS G-4, for TQMG et al., 20 Feb 42 and 2 Mar 
42, same sub, 400.314. 



of shipping. Thus was initiated the first com- 
prehensive ASP which appeared in April 1942 
shortly after the major phases of the supply 
process had been concentrated under one top 
management in the newly organized Headquar- 
ters, SOS. 

During 1942 the problem of production pos- 
sibilities was of primary concern to those re- 
sponsible for supply. Within the War Depart- 
ment the ASP was the medium by which 
balance was to be attained in production and in 
over-all supply and demand among the several 
military programs and between end items and 
their components. The program was therefore 
developed and operated under two phases. In 
the first an initial long-range program was to 
be developed and immediate broad analysis and 
adjustment were to be made. In Phase II peri- 
odic, detailed, short-range analysis and adjust- 
ments of the long-range program were to be 
made. 56 Until a realistic relationship between 
military requirements and industrial capacity 
had been determined, Phase I was of great im- 
portance. Its significance waned, however, after 
the early stages of the war. 

Phase I gave effect to such considerations as 
significant changes in planned troop strength, 
availability of raw materials, the capacity of 
industry, and limitations on shipping. During 
1942 the ASP was adjusted radically to attain 
the balance sought. For example, a revision was 
necessary when the President authorized a new 
troop strength in August. By October another 
critical decision was made placing production 
emphasis on the aircraft and escort vessel pro- 
grams. The WPB indicated that the production 
capacity of the country would not support the 
ground equipment program as stated in the ASP 
as well as provide for accelerated production of 
the aircraft and escort vessel programs. As a re- 
sult a 20 percent cut in ground equipment had 
to be taken. 57 Revisions of the ASP were made 
because of changes in the troop basis, in allow- 
ance tables, in strategic plans, and in availability 

of raw materials and facilities. The standardiza- 
tion of new items of equipment and the 
elimination of the use of programmed items 
were also primary causes for revision of the ASP. 
The scope of the ASP extended to all types of 
equipment procured by the Army for the armed 
forces of the United States and its allies. The 
development and supervision of this program 
were responsibilities of Headquarters, SOS, but 
the implementation of its directives was accom- 
plished by the technical services. The program 
set forth the procurement objectives of the sev- 
eral technical services by calendar years in terms 
of end items. It was divided into a number of 
separate sections which varied at times but in- 
cluded such categories as ground equipment, air 
equipment, expendable supplies for ground 
forces and for air forces, miscellaneous supplies 
for international aid, and construction supplies. 
After July 1942 the ASP was used as the sole 
source of procurement authority for the QMC 
and the other supply services. To relate the pro- 
gram to availability of critical materials and in- 
dustrial facilities, The Quartermaster General 
and the other supply service chiefs, at the di- 
rection of the Production Division, SOS, trans- 
lated end items listed in the ASP into terms of 
raw materials. The raw material requirements 
were determined by compiling bills of materials 
obtained from contractors or by estimation. 
These were transmitted to the WPB and Army 
and Navy Munitions Board where the informa- 
tion on availability of supply enabled Head- 
quarters, SOS, to adjust the ASP when necessary 
and secure an appropriate tentative allocation of 
materials. The ASP therefore served as a guide 
for allocation of raw materials by the WPB and 
the ANMB. 

56 Memo, Brig Gen Lucius D. Clay, Deputy CofS 
for Reqmts & Resources, SOS, for Chiefs of Operating 
Divs, SOS et al., 5 Apr 42, sub: Procedure in the 
Development and Execution of ASP, 400.314. 

,7 Lecture, Frank, 17 Jan 45, sub: History of Army 
Reqmts Program, p. 12. 



In this connection, controlling the flow of 
critical materials, such as aluminum, into es- 
sential war programs was one of the most vexa- 
tious problems early in the war. An effort to 
solve this difficulty through the use of a priority 
system failed. The Production Requirements 
Plan, which attempted to allocate materials on 
the basis of manufacturers' estimates rather than 
on end item programs, was equally unsuccess- 
ful. In the fall of 1942 the materials problem 
was solved through the development of the 
Controlled Materials Plan which provided for 
an allocation of materials to claimant agencies 
in accordance with scheduled programs of re- 
quirements. Since the QMC was a compara- 
tively small user of critical metals, it did not 
figure as prominently in the operations of the 
Controlled Materials Plan as did other technical 
services. 58 The use of this plan required the 
translation of the ASP into scheduled quantities 
of the various controlled materials. Head- 
quarters, ASF, supplemented the ASP with a 
document issued quarterly and known as the 
"Army Requirements for Controlled Materials" 
from the second quarter of 1943 to the end of 
the war. 

In addition to being used as the sole source of 
procurement authority and as a guide for the 
allocation of raw materials, the ASP served 
other purposes. It was used for co-ordinating 
the demands of the Navy and of international 
aid which the Army had to procure. Finally the 
ASP was used as a basis for budget estimates 
submitted to Congress. The total amounts of 
equipment, expressed in dollars, were incorpo- 
rated in the budget for securing funds for future 
appropriations. The ASP was also used as a 
basis for defending these estimates in Congress. 59 

Quartermaster Contributions to Improved 

Between April 1942 when the first ASP was 
published and October 1944 when the seventh 

and last edition of the ASP appeared, the pro- 
gram underwent many developments. Tech- 
niques of computing it were improved and 
principles of forecasting were refined. In this 
process of development the Requirements 
Branch, OQMG, "not only anticipated but 
formulated, refined, and induced the ASF to 
accept most of the requirements policies and 
procedures that were eventually adopted by that 
agency." 60 Foremost among these was the carry- 
over method of computing distribution require- 
ments. This concept of stock levels as operating 
reserves that fluctuated in accordance with an- 
ticipated issues was carried over into the supply 
and demand and supply control systems that 
later superseded the ASP. 

Since the carry-over method related stock 
level requirements directly to initial and main- 
tenance issues, it enabled a new concept of stock 
on hand to be incorporated in the estimate by 
adjusting the number of months of maintenance 
used in the computation. 61 Formerly emphasis 
was placed on estimating total assets and total 
consumption, but attention could now be cen- 
tered only on the increases to these assets and 
on consumption as reflected by issues from the 

The OQMG was interested in eliminating 
from the definition of tangible assets such 
vagaries as stocks in the hands of troops. At 
best such figures could only be "computed esti- 
mates for the large majority of Quartermaster 
items." 62 One of the outstanding features of the 

58 For a full discussion on controlling the flow of 
materials to Quartermaster contractors see Harry B. 
Yoshpe, Production Control in the Quartermaster Corps, 
1939-1944 (QMC Historical Studies 8, December 
1944), pp. 36-41. 

59 Frank, The Determination of Army Supply 
Reqmts, pp. 38-39. 

60 Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 46. 

61 Dir of Mil Ping Div to TQMG, 18 Jun 43, sub: 
Comparison of QM Subsections, 1 Feb 43, ASP Sec. I 
and 1 Aug 43, ASP. 

62 Memo, Col Cowles, OQMG, for Reqmts Div 
ASF, 22 Sep 43, sub: On Hand Figures for 1 Feb 44 
Revision of ASP. 



August 1943 ASP was the deletion of stocks in 
the hands of troops from the on hand figure. 
Data for the program were based only on actual 
stocks in storage. The on hand figure included 
stocks at posts, camps, stations, and depots, 
which were ready for issue, as well as reserves 
at ports of embarkation. It also included the 
stock in transit to these installations and the 
quantities consigned as port reserves to ports of 
embarkation. It did not include supplies actually 
in transit and consigned for shipment overseas 
since these were considered part of the assets of 
the theater of operations. The inventory was 
limited to stocks located in the continental 
United States. 63 Calculated on hand figures took 
the place of totaled inventories. Although the 
Stock Control Division, ASF, proposed inclu- 
sion of the stocks in the hands of troops in the 
February 1944 revision of the ASP the validity 
of the OQMG objections was recognized, and 
the QMC program included only those ele- 
ments incorporated in the August 1943 pro- 
gram. 64 

The ASF directive for the August 1943 ASP 
showed acceptance of other Quartermaster con- 
cepts. The application of zone of interior re- 
placement factors to supplies in noncombat 
areas physically located in theaters of operations 
had been advanced by the Corps. It received 
partial recognition by the ASF when zone of 
interior replacement rates were applied to inac- 
tive theaters of operations, such as the Carib- 
bean Defense Command. A more realistic ap- 
proach was further promoted by the official 
recognition given for the first time in this di- 
rective to overseas procurement. The total of 
required production for each period was to be 
reduced by the amount of anticipated overseas 
procurement as determined by the chiefs of the 
supply services from theater reports. 65 Reverse 
lend-lease was included in overseas procurement 
since it was supply which did not need to be 
manufactured in this country. The effect of 
overseas procurement on production schedules 

had been considered in the OQMG a year 
earlier in the summer of 1942. 66 

Still another Quartermaster concept proposed 
as early as July 1942 found acceptance in the 
August 1944 ASP. The OQMG had urged the 
division of the world into a number of separate 
areas in order to reflect geographic peculiarities 
in the computation of requirements. In the di- 
rective for the August 1944 program Head- 
quarters, ASF, took the first step in this direc- 
tion by authorizing a European Area and a 
Pacific Area in the computation of require- 
ments. 67 

It was Quartermaster persistence which won 
ASF acceptance of improved techniques de- 
veloped by the OQMG Problems of operations 
were naturally realized at the technical service 
level before they became known to the higher 
echelons. Solutions to these problems could be 
and were devised at that level but ASF approval 
came slowly. This had the effect of discouraging 
the presentation of other improvements to the 
technique of determining requirements. Thus 
the difficulty of winning acceptance of the 
carry-over method made the OQMG reluctant 
to urge acceptance in the fall of 1942 of a 
method for forecasting supply needs and for 
controlling their procurement and distribution 
which embodied all the essential features of the 
supply control system established by Headquar- 
ters, ASF, two years later in the fall of 1944. 68 

65 AGO Memo S700-18-43, 26 Mar 43, sub: De- 
termination of "On Hand" Figures as of 1 Jul 43, for 
use in ASP. 

64 ( 1 ) Memo, Stock Control Div, ASF, for TQMG 
et al., n. d. (circa Sep 43) sub: On Hand Figures for 
1 Feb 44 Revision of ASP. (2) Memo, Col Cowles, 
OQMG, for Reqmts Div ASF, 22 Sep 43, same sub. 

65 1st ind, Gen Clay to TQMG, 2 Jul 43, on memo, 
TQMG for CG ASF, 24 Jun 43, sub: Computation of 
Reqmts Sec. I ASP, 1 Aug 43. 

66 Brig Gen F. F. Scowden to TQMG, 24 Aug 42, 
sub: Reverse Lend- Lease. 

67 Memo, Col Denson, Reqmts Div, ASF, for TQMG 
et al., 22 May 44, sub: Computation of Sec. I ASP, 1 
Aug 44, 400.314. 

68 Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 46. 



Development of Supply Control System 
Supply and Demand Study 

During the early phases of the war when the 
problem of supply was confined to provision- 
ing an expanding Army with initial equipment 
and stockage, the ASP served its purpose of 
guiding procurement activities although fore- 
casting was only on a long-range basis. Short- 
range forecasting was accomplished by the 
commodity branches of the Storage and Dis- 
tribution Division. When the shortage of scarce 
materials allocated to industry became critical 
and when the problem of supplying the Army 
shifted to the maintenance of men and pipe- 
lines, the necessity of estimating requirements 
as accurately as possible became increasingly 
important. Underestimating requirements was 
as serious as overestimating them. The latter 
would produce a dislocation of industry and an 
unjustifiable curtailment of civilian supply. 
Underestimation meant the loss, probably 
beyond recovery, of raw materials and the 
capacity for production of other vital work. 
This was particularly significant for Quarter- 
master items which were in direct competition 
with civilian commodities. 69 

The ASP was not so much a control measure 
as a planning document, setting future objec- 
tives and providing the basis for appropriation 
requests. By the summer of 1943 it was clear 
that the ASP was a none too accurate "horizon 
setter" rather than a mechanism for achieving 
smooth production schedules, integration of the 
production processes, sufficient raw materials, 
and effective control of stocks. 70 The need for 
closer co-ordination between production and 
consumption required that the supply status be 
established on a monthly basis. 

The ASP provided a statement of annual 
needs but no guide existed for scheduling de- 
mand within the year. In the QMC the require- 
ments forecasts of the Requirements Branch 
had only a limited application as a basis for pro- 

curement. Its estimates were accepted as guid- 
ance data by the operating branches but were 
often bypassed in actual procurement by the 
practice of "forward buying." This, for example, 
enabled the operating branch to procure some 
of the 1943 requirements of a given item in 
1942 on the plea that all the 1942 requirements 
had been procured early in the year and con- 
tinuous production was necessary to retain the 
facilities for the manufacture of Quartermaster 
items. This practice grew out of fear that the 
QMC would be caught in short supply. Such 
fear could be dispelled only by a statement of 
demand for shorter periods than those used in 
the ASP which provided for semiannual compu- 
tations of demand and supply. To be sure there 
were interim changes computed for the pro- 
gram but these were sporadic and discretionary 
in nature. Not until the later days of the ASP 
were revised estimates processed for approval 
on the basis of continuing modification and 
revision in line with experience. 

The necessity for periodic review of require- 
ments in the light of operating needs gave rise 
to the development of the supply and demand 
study. 71 During the latter part of 1943 the Re- 
quirements Branch developed methods of com- 
puting requirements on the basis of forecasts of 
depot issues. Forecasts of depot issues were pre- 
pared so that adequate stocks could be main- 
tained "to meet all legitimate requisitions by 

69 Address, Alvin Mayne, Reqmts Br OQMG, sub: 
Supply and Demand Studies and Field Information 
Essential to Computation of Reqmts, QM Conference, 
2-4 Oct 44, Camp Lee, Va. 

70 Dir of Mil Ping Div to TQMG, 8 Feb 44, sub: 
Comments on Atchd Memo concerning ASP by Mr. 

71 Like the carry-over method, the development of 
the supply and demand study was the product of the 
co-operative effort of personnel in various operating 
divisions of the OQMG. Within the Requirements 
Branch, Alvin Mayne crystallized the concept and 
Hyman G. Landau performed the detailed work. The 
resulting technique was submitted to the Deputy The 
Quartermaster General for Supply Planning and 
Operations on 20 January 1944. 



regional and filler depots." 72 The planning of 
supplies was confined to the depot level, since 
the method was devised to enable The Quarter- 
master General to control his supply, and he 
lost that control when supplies left the depot. 

The OQMG assumed that field experience 
had advanced sufficiently to be used as the basis 
for forecasting. The method developed was ex- 
plained to representatives of the ASF at a con- 
ference in November 1943. The ASF did not 
approve the use of this system as a substitute 
for the method it prescribed for the ASP. Maj. 
Gen. Lucius D. Clay, Director of Materiel, op- 
posed the use of the method because he believed 
it would cause Army demands to fluctuate 
sharply from month to month. The changes 
would be reflected in production schedules and 
the frequency of them would be detrimental to 
Army procurement and to industry. While the 
use of this method was opposed for official re- 
quirements, the ASF representatives found suffi- 
cient merit in it to suggest its use and continued 
development for checking and reviewing re- 
quirement estimates. Furthermore, Mr. Howard 
Bruce in the Office of the Director of Materiel 
was assigned to study and evaluate the method. 75 

His report criticized the system because it 
relied too much on recent, actual experience in- 
stead of upon a combination of experience and 
judgment as heretofore. The method was found 
applicable, however, to certain types of items. 
He suggested that one group of items be esti- 
mated in strict compliance with directives 
formulated by Headquarters, ASF, and a second 
group, by reference to inventory and issue data. 
The Requirements Branch objected to the as- 
sumption that it used experience without anal- 
ysis and questioned the value of the proposed 
grouping of items. 74 

Supply Control System 

When on 7 March 1944 Headquarters, ASF, 
published Circular 67, it acknowledged the 

validity of experience as a basis for determining 
requirements and in essence accepted the pro- 
cedures already developed by the Requirements 
Branch, OQMG. 75 It replaced the ASP with the 
Supply Control System, which was made ap- 
plicable to all Quartermaster items except sub- 
sistence. During December 1944, however, it 
was extended to these items. The Supply Con- 
trol System established an integrated method of 
requirements forecasting, production schedul- 
ing, stock accounting, stock control, and dis- 
posal of excess supplies. Continuous short-term 
review was the keynote of the system, which 
provided data on a monthly basis, in contrast to 
the ASP, which was concerned with annual 
procurement requirements. 

Procedures were set forth for attaining the 
objectives of the program. To facilitate control 
all military property was divided into two broad 
groups. Group "P" included all items of major 
importance from a military or monetary stand- 
point, on which centralized control was there- 
fore desirable. It also included those items the 
demand for which could not be adequately esti- 
mated solely on past experience. Group "S" 
comprised all other materiel. 76 These groupings 
followed the same general division of items 
recommended in the Bruce memorandum. 

As a method of reviewing items in both 
categories, the circular directed the technical 
services to prepare supply and demand studies 
in order to regulate procurement more closely 
and correlate it and requirements to current 
needs. These studies were to embody three 

72 Address, Mayne, Supply and Demand Studies and 
Field Information Essential to Computation of Reqmts, 
QM Conf, 2-4 Oct 44, Camp Lee, Va. 

75 Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 51. 

74 Dir of Mil Ping Div to TQMG, 8 Feb 44, sub: 
Comments on Atchd Memo Concerning ASP by Mr. 

75 ( 1 ) Memo, Gen Clay, for Dir of Purchases Div, 
ASF, et al., 26 Jan 44, no sub. (2) For an analysis of 
Quartermaster methods see Bradford, Methods of Fore- 
casting, pp. 47-51. 

76 ASF Cir 67, Sec. II, par 3, 7 Mar 44, no sub. 



major phases: (1) a forecast of future issues, (2) 
the computation of authorized stock levels, and 
(3) the determination of status and adjustment 
of procurement schedules and stocks. Where 
items did not have a readily predictable rate of 
issue, the ASF directed the technical services to 
follow the ASP method in developing issue 
forecast. For items having a stable rate of issue 
the determination of future issue requirements 
was to be based on a critical evaluation of past 
issue experience and a projection of this experi- 
ence into the future. 

Stock levels excluded amounts already shipped 
overseas as well as quantities under the control 
of posts, camps, and stations in the United 
States. They were based upon anticipated depot 
issues to the extent authorized. For distribution 
in the zone of interior a 45-day level of supply 
was prescribed; for the theater of operations it 
was established at 60 days. An additional 30 
days of supply, entitled "overseas contingency 
reserve" was authorized for those items issued 
overseas which did not have a strategic re- 
serve. 77 Basing levels on anticipated issues, as 
calculated in the supply and demand study, 
changed the concept of stockage as set forth in 
the ASP directives as a static quantity to one 
which fluctuated as estimated issues varied and 
as the number of days authorized was changed. 

The method to be used in determining the 
status of an item and adjusting its procurement 
schedules and stocks was left to the judgement 
of the technical service. The objective was "to 
bring stocks in line with the total authorized 
stock levels (U. S.) at the earliest practicable 
date, and thereafter to make procurement 
schedules accord with future demand." 78 This 
date depended on the status of production and 
the procurement problems involved, but unless 
an extension was specifically authorized by 
Headquarters, ASF, the necessary adjustments 
were to be accomplished within six months. 

Insofar as it related to Quartermaster require- 
ments, the history of supply control during 

1944 was one of conferences and reports con- 
cerning the extent of the presentation of sup- 
ply control data. 79 The OQMG recommended 
adequate but minimum accounting; the ASF 
requested detailed information. The Supply 
Control Form developed as the reporting docu- 
ment for the principal items was divided into 
seven major areas of functions: (1) identifica- 
tion of the item, (2) past supply status, (3) 
present supply status, (4) future supply status, 
(5) stock status, (6) disposal, and (7) annual 
data comparisons. 80 These forms were pre- 
pared for each item reported. Collected and 
published monthly they were called the 
Monthly Progress Report, Section 20. This 
replaced the ASP as the official statement of 
required production and the authority for 

The Supply Control System required the 
closest co-ordination between all requirements, 
procurement, and stock control agencies. With- 
in the QMC the administration of the system 
was worked out without establishing a central 
authority for requirements forecasting, produc- 
tion scheduling, and the other closely related 
functions. 81 A greater degree of co-ordination 
was effected but the determination of require- 
ments remained a joint responsibility in the 
OQMG because the Military Planning Division 
still had to obtain concurrence in its forecast 

77 WD Cir 85, Sec. Ill, 25 Feb 44, sub: Stock Level 
within Z/I. 

78 ASF Cir 67, Sec. II, par 5 e (3), 7 Mar 44, no 

79 ( 1 ) Chief of Reqmts Br to Chief of Mil Ping Div, 
OQMG, 20 Mar 44, sub: Tentative Form of Sup and 
Demand Rpt. (2) Same to OP&C Div, OQMG, 9 
Aug 44, sub: Conf on Sup Control Rpts. (3) Memo, 
Col Doriot, OQMG, for CG ASF, 3 Nov 44, sub: 
Proposed Revision of Sup Control Rpt. (4) Memo, 
Doriot for same, 13 Nov 44, sub: Comments on Pro- 
posed Sup Control Form. 

80 For an analysis of this form see Bradford, Methods 
of Forecasting, pp. 60-70. 

81 (1) OQMG OO 25-72, 31 Mar 44, sub: Asgmt 
of Responsibilities. (2) OQMG OO 2 5-72 A, 1 1 Jul 
44, same sub. 



studies from other interested divisions. 

The Supply Control Report was an improve- 
ment over its predecessor, the ASP, to the 
extent that administratively it tended to force 
the requirements and procurement groups to 
work together more closely than heretofore. 
Embodying a close supervision over supply 
planning and operations, it represented the final 
instrument adopted by the War Department 
during World War II as a solution to the whole 
control problem. It had one vital deficiency for 
it was basically weak in the forecasting of is- 
sues. The validity of the entire report depended 
on forecast of issues to the Army but the report 
had no check as to the accuracy of that one ele- 
ment. While the report contained data on the 
most recent issues and cumulative issues for 
each item from the beginning of the year, these 
data were insufficient to permit the reviewing 
group more than a cursory review of the issue 
forecast. There was no explanation of the inter- 
pretations given to authorized allowances, nor 
was it indicated what portion of the issues were 
in anticipation of consumption by troops or 
how many articles were to be shipped as addi- 
tions to the stocks required overseas. 82 

Computation of Task Force Requirements 

In addition to calculating requirements for 
supply programs which involved long-range 
planning, the Requirements Branch was also 
responsible for computing immediate initial 
and replacement requirements for task forces. 
The most essential element here was time. Task 
forces generally moved on short orders, and per- 
sonnel of the Overseas Requirements Section 
of the branch had to compute requirements for 
them quickly, based on War Department move- 
ment orders. Beginning inconspicuously with 
the computation of supply requirements for 
forces assigned to garrison bases obtained from 
Britain in trade for a number of over-age de- 
stroyers, this activity "grew to staggering pro- 

portions with the mounting of the North Afri- 
can and Normandy operations." 83 During the 
war the section prepared approximately 4,000 
requirements reports for task forces and for 
various other special operations. 

International Business Machine (IBM) tabu- 
lation was vital in computing such data. Before 
the outbreak of hostilities every computation— 
every addition, subtraction, multiplication, and 
division— was performed manually by a clerk 
with the aid of an adding machine or calculator. 
One computation, for example, prepared short- 
ly before Pearl Harbor for a relatively small 
task force required approximately six weeks. 
Such laborious procedures were unsuited to the 
tempo of modern war, which demanded the use 
of machine methods and the conversion of all 
basic data needed for requirements computation 
to electrical accounting machine punch cards. 
Within a short time after the outbreak of war, 
the section, with the co-operation of the Ma- 
chine Tabulating Branch, had developed an ef- 
ficient and flexible system for the accurate prep- 
aration of all the various types of requirements 
reports. 84 

Computing task force requirements involved 
not only the initial issue and replacement quan- 
tity of each item of food, clothing, equipage, 
regular supplies, and fuels needed by a particu- 
lar force, but also the total weight and cubic 
displacement of this shipment. Such data served 

82 (1) Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 70. (2) 
According to Dr. Hoos, if requirements and procure- 
ment personnel could have been brought to work 
together more closely under the latest ASP procedures, 
the "net result would have been even better because 
ASP forecasting record, analyses would show, was 
the more accurate largely because it was less mech- 
anistic and not hindered with random non-controllable 
variations." Ltr, Dr. Hoos to Chief of Military History, 
21 Dec 50, no sub. 

83 Rpt, Overseas Reqmts Sec, Reqmts Br, Mil Ping 
Div, OQMG, Oct 45, sub: History and Record of 
Accomplishment, p. 12.007. Copy on file at Hist Sec, 

84 For elaboration of the problems involved see ibid., 
pp. 12.010ff. 



as the basis for requisitions directing shipment 
from depots, as the basis for planning rail and 
water shipping requirements, and as a check list 
for conducting showdown inspections of troops 
and equipment at staging areas and ports of 
embarkation. They were the key instrument for 
the shipment of supplies for forces moving into 
theaters of operations. 

Overseas Requirements Tables 

Obviously if forecasts of requirements esti- 
mated in the War Department and requisitions 
for supplies prepared in overseas commands 
were based on common assumptions, the state- 
ments of requirements would be more accurate. 
Perhaps the chief deficiency in the method of 
determining requirements during World War 
II was the lack of co-ordination between the as- 
sumption underlying the estimates of the Re- 
quirements Branch, OQMG, and the basis of 
requisitions from the theaters of operations. 
The desirability of such co-ordination had al- 
ways been recognized, but its necessity was 
sharply emphasized when supply planning 
shifted from long-range planning under the 
ASP to short-term operations under the Supply 
Control System. A more precise correlation be- 
tween forecasts and requisitions was demanded 
by the short-term estimates of that system. The 
OQMG sought to achieve co-ordination 
through the development of overseas require- 
ments tables. 

Personnel at ports of embarkation and thea- 
ter commanders were both in need of lists of 
consumption and replacement factors. Although 
the Requirements Branch recognized this need, 
it was in no position to provide realistic factors 
for each theater in 1942. In the meantime, while 
it collected and analyzed data, the Storage and 
Distribution Division, as an operating division 
in closer touch with problems in the field, 
sought to fill this need by drafting a pamphlet 

to serve similar ends. This "Guide for Use in 
Preparing and Editing Requisitions for Quarter- 
master Supplies in the Theater of Operations" 
was sent to all ports and theaters on 1 March 
1943. 85 The shortcomings of this pamphlet 
were recognized, and therefore its use was rec- 
ommended only as a guide for future needs in 
the absence of accurate consumption data in 
any theater. 86 

In the meantime data obtained by overseas 
teams were being screened and converted by the 
Requirements Branch into tentative replace- 
ment factors by theaters. In response to a re- 
quest of the Central Pacific Base Command, the 
Requirements Branch in December 1943 pre- 
pared an Overseas Requirements Report. At 
about the same time a preliminary computation 
was made covering the United Kingdom. This 
became the first Overseas Requirements Table, 
and it was submitted to the New York Port of 
Embarkation for review. Various recommenda- 
tions made by the port were accepted. The Re- 
quirements Branch suggested that the re- 
placement factors derived from theater issue 
experience supplant the over-all replacement 
percentage approved by the War Department. 87 

Overseas requirements tables were thereupon 
prepared during the next few months for the 
six theaters of operations showing the total 
authorized initial allowances, stock level, re- 
serve requirements, the monthly replacement 
factor, and the replacement quantities for 1,000 
individuals for 30 days in each of the theaters 

85 The Guide was subsequently revised and pub- 
lished as a War Department supply bulletin, SB 10-12, 
1 1 Feb 44, sub: Guide for Use in Preparation of 
Requisitions in Overseas Commands and Editing 
Thereof by Ports of Embarkation. It was succeeded by 
SB 10-98, 21 Jul 44, and was rescinded on 21 March 
45. Both bulletins advised use of the overseas require- 
ments tables, if available, because of their more direct 

86 For further analysis of the pamphlet see Bradford, 
Methods of Forecasting, p. 86. 

87 Travel Rpt, Capt H. A. Naisbitt to TQMG, 21 ' 
Jan 44, sub: Rpt of Inspection of QM Activities at 



of operations. These tables were not applicable 
to all items. They covered clothing and equip- 
ment, expendable supplies, spare parts for se- 
lected items, certain groups of sales items, and 
salvage repair supplies. They did not apply to 
such Class I supplies as rations, or to fuels and 
lubricants, or certain Class IV supplies requir- 
ing special justification, as tentage for housing 
and storage. 88 

After the tables had been used for several 
months and their contribution to efficiency 
demonstrated, Headquarters, ASF, directed the 
preparation of similar tables by the other tech- 
nical services. 89 The overseas requirements 
tables attained almost universal acceptance and 
contributed markedly to promoting co-ordina- 
tion between the theater commands, the ports 
of embarkation, and the War Department in 
the estimating of requirements. Although the 
tables were widely used at ports of embarkation 
and overseas commands, they were not consist- 
ently and regularly used by the analysts of the 
Requirements Branch itself. For several reasons 
their use was more limited in preparing esti- 
mates for supply control. The most important 
reason was the lapse of time between receipt of 
data requiring a change in the estimate of re- 
quirements and the incorporation of that data 
in the quarterly revision of the Overseas Re- 
quirements Table. Since this information was 
available to the analyst, there was no point in 
his waiting for the table's publication before 
taking corrective action. To achieve greater 
co-ordination in this area a Factor Control 
Committee was established in the Require- 
ments Branch in November 1944 to bring 
about as complete agreement as possible be- 
tween the factors and allowances used in the 
supply program computations and those com- 
puted for the Overseas Requirements Tables. 
Although some success was thereby achieved, 
complete co-ordination between the supply 
programs and the tables was not effected before 
the war ended. 

Subsistence Requirements 
Administrative Background 

In the forecasting of subsistence requirements 
close working relations were necessary between 
the Requirements Branch, Military Planning 
Division, and the Subsistence Branch (later 
Division). Harmonious relationships, however, 
were not easily achieved, in part because of the 
tradition of independence long enjoyed by the 
subsistence organization. As a commodity unit, 
it had been accustomed to computing its own 
requirements. The Subsistence Branch viewed 
long-range requirements estimated by the Re- 
quirements Branch as too theoretical in nature 
and too dissociated from its day-to-day operat- 
ing problems to have much practical application. 

Headquarters of SOS and later of ASF did 
not actively engage in detailed supervision of 
food requirements during most of World War 
II as it did for other materiel. Nor did it repre- 
sent the War Department in matters of subsist- 
ence production and procurement. 90 Instead, on 
29 January 1943 the Chief of Staff for Materiel, 
SOS, advised the Department of Agriculture 
that the "War Department has centered its re- 
sponsibility with respect to the food require- 
ments of the Army" under the specific supervi- 
sion of Brig. Gen. Carl A. Hardigg, Chief of the 
Subsistence Branch, OQMG. 91 Since this 
branch was also procuring food, influencing 
production, and making the actual operating 
decisions, it followed that agencies of the De- 
partment of Agriculture tended to confine their 
relations with the War Department to the Sub- 
sistence Branch, OQMG. The Requirements 

88 Bradford, Methods of Forecasting, p. 88. 

89 Memo, Gen Somervell for Chiefs of Tech Svs, 8 
Jul 44, sub: Computation of Allowances for Overseas 

90 Memo, Deputy Dir of Resources & Production 
Div, SOS, for TQMG, 2 Feb 43, sub: Transfer of Food 
Functions, 430. 

91 Ltr, Gen Clay to Roy Hendrickson, Dir of Food 
Distribution Administration, 29 Jan 43, no sub. 



Branch, as a means of keeping in touch with 
current development and probable future trends 
for long-range planning in subsistence, tried in 
vain to secure representation on the Inter- 
Agency Food Allocations Committee estab- 
lished by the Department of Agriculture. Not 
until 4 August 1945 was the Military Planning 
Division definitely assigned to represent the 
QMC on the commodities sub-committees of 
the Food Requirements and Allocation Com- 
mittee—successor to the Inter- Agency Food 
Allocations Committee— for the purpose of pre- 
senting and justifying Army food requirements. 
The Subsistence Division continued to repre- 
sent the War Department in all matters of food 
procurement. 92 

Despite the irritations that grew out of these 
relationships, the personnel of the Subsistence 
Branch and of the Requirements Branch collab- 
orated in preparing requirements for subsistence 
and post exchange items. In time a working ar- 
rangement was evolved. Before beginning a 
computation, personnel from the two branches 
discussed the method and assumptions to be 
used. The decisions made included agreement 
as to consumption factors, strength data, ship- 
ping time, stock levels overseas and in the zone 
of interior, loss allowances, and other data. 
During the computation frequent checks were 
made by the Subsistence Division to catch errors 
before the work was completed. Subsequently, 
when the Supply Control Reports replaced the 
ASP, the work of preparing them was done 
jointly by these two agencies. The actual forms 
were computed by personnel of the Require- 
ments Branch from requirements previously 
concurred in by the Subsistence Division. The 
reports were then reviewed and approved by 
personnel of the Subsistence Division. Both 
agencies were represented at review meetings 
conducted by Headquarters, ASF. 93 

Requirements had to be estimated for perish- 
able and nonperishable foods and for special 
rations as well as for post exchange items and 

ration accessory packets. Field ration A, consist- 
ing of fresh foods supplemented by some 
canned foods, was issued to troops in the zone 
of interior except when they were on maneu- 
vers. Front-line combat troops received special 
rations, such as C, K, or ten-in-one. Other thea- 
ter troops were issued field ration B, which in- 
cluded a large number of nonperishable foods. 

Basic Formula 

In computing the net ASP requirements 94 for 
these foods, the personnel of the Requirements 
Branch used a basic formula that remained un- 
changed during the war, although elements 
composing it underwent many refinements to 
effect greater accuracy of the forecasts made. In 
anticipation of further analysis, this formula 
may be stated simply. Net Army requirements 
equaled the quantities of food consumed by the 
troops, plus necessary closing stock inventories 
in the zone of interior and theaters of opera- 
tions, minus the actual opening inventories. 
The net purchases of subsistence made in the 
United States by the QMC included not only 
these net requirements, minus anticipated local 
procurement overseas, but also the quantities 
purchased for and transferred to other agencies, 
such as the Navy and the Red Cross, as well as 
the subsistence provided for civilians in occu- 
pied areas. The necessary closing inventories 
consisted of post, camp, and station stock levels 
for zone of interior personnel and theater levels 
for overseas personnel authorized by the War 
Department on the basis of a certain number 
of days of supply for the personnel being sub- 

92 OQMG OO 30-74, 4 Aug 45, sub: Representa- 
tion on Inter-Agency Food Subcommittees of Require- 
ments and Allocation Committee. 

95 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Oct 1945, sub: Army 
Subs and PX Reqmts, Jul 42-Aug 45, Pt. I, p. 10. 

94 The following discussion of methodology is large- 
ly based on a report prepared by the operating per- 
sonnel of theRequirements Branch. Rpt, Reqmts Br, • 
OQMG, Oct 45, sub: Army Subs and PX Reqmts, Jul 
42-Aug 45, Pt. Ill, pp. 14-32, 40-56. 



sisted at the end of the month. These invento- 
ries also comprised stock levels required at filler 
depots, including normal operating levels and 
production reserves. Opening inventories con- 
sisted of the stocks on hand at posts, camps, 
and stations, and at filler depots in the zone of 
interior and at base depots in the theaters of 

To compute the quantities of food consumed 
by the troops the forecaster multiplied the num- 
ber of rations by consumption factors in order 
to arrive at the issue demand. The first step in 
the process was to determine the "multiplier" 
to be used for the area for which the computa- 
tion was being made. It was obtained by mul- 
tiplying the average number of personnel in 
each feeding category, such as prisoners of war, 
liberated allies, allied military personnel, and 
Army personnel fed in organized messes, who 
were being fed each month, by the number of 
days in the month. Beginning with the ASP of 
1 February 1944 an average month of 30.5 days 
was used instead. The list of all multipliers was 
known as the ration schedule, and for con- 
venience in computation a ration schedule was 
set up for each area for which requirements 
were computed. Separate computations were 
made for the zone of interior and overseas. In 
the theater computation, allowance was also 
made for loss by pilferage, spoilage, and ship 

Elements in Subsistence Forecasting 
Strength Data 

In computing subsistence requirements a 
number of elements were important. Obvious- 
ly, accurate strength data were as essential to 
computing requirements for expendable items 
as they were to nonexpendable items. In both 
cases the Troop Basis and later the War Depart- 
ment Troop Deployment were used to obtain 
cumulative strengths for the zone of interior 

and overseas. Both computations suffered from 
the fact that such data could not be obtained 
from the General Staff sufficiently far in advance 
to allow for the proper computation of require- 
ments and the implementation of procurement 
programs. "It just seemed impossible to get the 
Staff to understand the importance of lead time 
in production." 95 Furthermore, since strength 
figures were given on a quarterly or semiannual 
basis, it was necessary to assume uniform 
monthly changes in order to compute monthly 
subsistence schedules. 

For subsistence requirements one of the main 
inadequacies in these figures was the fact that 
they contained no information on non-Army 
personnel being fed by the Army. Such data had 
to be obtained from whatever sources could be 
secured at the time ration schedules were pre- 
pared, and had to be adjusted to reflect correctly 
the strength actually being subsisted by the 
Army. In general, such personnel were grouped 
by type of menus in order to reduce the number 
of categories involved in the computation of 
issue demand requirements. Thus in the Medi- 
terranean Theater of Operations (MTO) native 
cooks, waiters, and mess attendants were 
grouped with prisoner of war strength because 
of the similarity in menus supplied rather than 
as an indication of military status. By the Feb- 
ruary 1945 program the lack of data had become 
serious because the various groups of non- Army 
personnel represented a substantial portion of 
the total strength. As a result of continued agi- 
tation by the Requirements Branch, G-4 finally 
included a "Subsistence Rations" section in the 
Supply Supplement to the War Department 
Troop Deployment. Beginning with the March 
1945 issue official strength figures became avail- 
able on an area basis for non- Army personnel. 96 

95 Lecture, Gen Lutes, 2 3 Sep 46, sub: The ASP, 
p. 5. 

96 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Oct 45, sub: Army 
Subs and PX Reqmts, Jul 42-Aug 45, Pt. Ill, pp. 27, 



Consumption Factors 

Strength figures were necessary for the prep- 
aration of ration schedules, but before total 
quantities of subsistence could be estimated 
consumption factors also had to be established. 
Unlike the forecast for nonexpendable items, 
the basic equation used in estimating subsistence 
requirements did not use the element of initial 
issue nor replacement factors. Instead, consump- 
tion factors were utilized which expressed the 
rate at which pounds of a particular subsistence 
item were consumed by a specified strength 
during a specified period of time. 97 

Since consumption rates derived from actual 
issue experience were not available, consump- 
tion factors in practice were based in 1942 upon 
authorized menu rates. These menus were pre- 
pared by the Subsistence Branch. The master 
menu, known as the domestic menu, was in- 
tended as a guide for the company mess in the 
zone of interior. Composed of perishables and 
nonperishables collectively known as ration A, 
the master menu contained a menu for three 
meals a day, for each day of the month, each 
menu differing from the others. It was pub- 
lished each month, three months in advance. 
The overseas menu, planned for use in the the- 
ater, consisted of two separate menus — No. 1 
for use in tropic and temperate zones and No. 2 
for frigid zones. It included only nonperishable 
foods collectively known as ration B. 98 

The use of such data, although in many cases 
the best available, was not entirely satisfactory. 
Because menu rates for subsistence items were 
authorized it did not necessarily follow that 
actual usage in either the theaters or the zone 
of interior was in accordance with such pre- 
scribed rates of issue. The European Theater of 
Operations (ETO), for example, operated dur- 
ing the war on its own menu. Even under the 
best conditions the menu could not be followed 
exactly because a certain amount of latitude was 
given commanding officers to make permissible 

substitutions of the food included in the menu. 
Local conditions of supply also caused a certain 
number of substitutions to be made. 99 

Personnel of the Subsistence Division and of 
the Requirements Branch were not in agree- 
ment on the use of consumption factors. The 
latter viewed consumption factors derived from 
menu rates as appropriate for the immediate 
future only because conditions likely to prevail 
at a more remote date were not adequately con- 
sidered. The Subsistence Division insisted on 
relating factors rather closely to the present 
availability of supplies, and difficulties were en- 
countered in obtaining its concurrence to fac- 
tors not established on that basis. Subsistence 
personnel thought it desirable to use whatever 
factors were appropriate for the next few 
months regardless of how adequately or inade- 
quately they might reflect conditions at a later 
date. As a consequence the issue demands com- 
puted actually represented quantities required, 
based on the assumption that the current de- 
mand situation would continue to the end of 
the period for which the computations were 
being made. 100 

To overcome the difficulties stemming from 
reliance on menu rates, the Requirements 
Branch sought to develop consumption factors 
for the zone of interior based on actual issue 
experience. In the February 1943 ASP the Re- 
quirements Branch no longer relied wholly on 
the master menu in computing zone of interior 
requirements. Instead menus were obtained 
from a cross section of forty camps, and rates of 
consumption were computed from these. By 

97 Hoos, Elements of QM Reqmts, p. 28. 

98 Ltr (tentative draft), Maj C. L. Campbell, Subs 
Br, to Spencer Piatt and Edward J. Bennett, Bureau 
of the Budget, 1 Dec 42, sub: Food Reqmts of US 
Army, 430. 

99 (1) Ibid. (2) Lecture, Dr. R. M. Macy, Reqmts 
Br, OQMG, 16 Jan 43, sub: Talk Given on Rqmts 
before Group of Officers from Camp Lee, Va. (3) 
Messing in the ETO. 

100 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Oct 45, sub: Army 
Subs and PX Reqmts, Jul 42-Aug 45, Pt. Ill, p. 52. 



this period of the war the need for greater ac- 
curacy in forecasting subsistence requirements 
was emphasized by the necessity to conserve 
food. To achieve this end the War Department 
in 1943 attempted a more rigid control of ra- 
tions for Army messes and ordered a reduction 
in the authorized allowances for field rations. 
This action was based on extensive studies of 
Army food consumption and wastage initiated 
at the Quartermaster Board shortly after Pearl 
Harbor upon directive of The Quartermaster 
General. 101 In order to accumulate the necessary 
subsistence data on issue experience the Re- 
quirements Branch sent field survey teams to 
visit representative posts, camps, and stations 
in the United States. While this study 102 was 
originally projected to cover all Quartermaster 
items, in the spring of 1943 it was reorganized 
to exclude all but subsistence items. As a result 
of this study detailed consumption rates in the 
zone of interior were derived from actual issue 
experience for each subsistence item. It was pos- 
sible for the first time to reflect in the 1 Febru- 
ary 1944 ASP the reduction in subsistence issues 
in the zone of interior due to "absenteeism" 
from messes. The effect was to produce "a 
$117,000,000 savings in 1944 requirements as 
stated in the current ASP" 10} 

For theaters of operations the Requirements 
Branch based its consumption factors on the 
authorized menu rates of overseas menus No. 1 
and No. 2. Wherever feasible it also used ship- 
ping rates. Shipping rates to the South Pacific 
Area (SPA) and such bases as Alaska and Ice- 
land were considered suitable for determining 
subsistence requirements. The use of shipping 
rates, however, had certain disadvantages. It 
was difficult to determine what the experience 
rates actually were. Furthermore, shipping rates 
did not take into account a change in the use of 
subsistence sent to a theater. Thus quantities of 
subsistence which accumulated in excess of the 
needs of a given theater could be transferred to 
allied military personnel, used for civilian sup- 

ply, or left to deteriorate because troops moved 
to a different island, for example, and it was not 
feasible to ship their supplies with them. This 
would not be reflected in shipping records. 104 

Insofar as perishable items were concerned, 
overseas requirements could not be related en- 
tirely to either menu rates or shipping rates. 
Forecasted issue demands had to be related to 
the quantities that could be shipped based upon 
availability of "reefer" (refrigerator) ships. Re- 
quirements personnel had to take into consider- 
ation the effect on consumption factors of the 
use of substitute nonperishable foods. A sub- 
stantial change in the number of reefer ships 
available for shipping fresh butter, meat, and 
other perishable foods to a given area, for ex- 
ample, meant that the use of canned butter and 
meats and other substitute items would be al- 
tered correspondingly. 105 

Similarly, determination of requirements for 
special rations could not be based upon total 
strengths and average consumption factors be- 
cause of the emergency nature of the issue of 
such items. During the first two and a half years 
of the war, requirements for special rations 
were computed as a percentage of the total 
quantity of menus No. 1 and No. 2 B rations 

101 (1) WD Or 16, 11 Jan 43, sub: Revised Pro- 
cedure for Distr of and Accounting for Fid Rations. 
(2) WD Cir 179, 7 Aug 43, Sec. II, sub: Authorized 
Allowances for Fid Rations. (3) Dir of QM Bd to 
TQMG, n. d., sub: Rpt on the QM Bd, Camp Lee, 
Va., 1 Feb 42-30 Jun 44, pp. 89-95. 

102 (1) Standard Fid Procedure for Reqmts Study 
18, revised 21 Apr 43. (2) Carroll Belknap to Chief 
of Reqmts Br, OQMG, 15 Apr 43, sub: Reqmts Study 
18. (3) Chief of Subs Subsec to Chief of Reqmts Br, 
OQMG, 17 Nov 43, sub: Necessity for Continuation 
of Reqmts Study 18 for Subs. 

103 (1) Memo, Col Doriot, OQMG, for Dir of 
Reqmts Div, ASF, 17 May 44, sub: First Rpt of 
Reqmts Study 18, 430. (2) See section on Food Serv- 
ice Program in Ch. XII of Quartermaster Corps: 
Organization, Supply, and Services, Vol. II, in prep- 
aration for this series. 

104 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Oct 45, sub: Army 
Subs and PX Reqmts, Jul 42-Aug 45, Pt. Ill, p. 22. 

105 Ibid. 



required for use in overseas areas. In the Sep- 
tember 1942 ASP and the one of February 1943, 
for example, 25 percent of the total B rations 
for overseas consumption was used in comput- 
ing special rations requirements. These percent- 
ages were fixed by Headquarters, SOS, but the 
apportionment of the requirements among the 
C, K, and D rations was determined by the Sub- 
sistence Branch. 

By August 1944 sufficient information had 
been obtained from requisitions, cables, and 
theater reports to permit special rations require- 
ments for some areas to be computed for the 
first time on an individual area basis. Before the 
war ended the method of computing require- 
ments for special rations had been greatly re- 
fined. The procedures, however, were complex, 
for an attempt was made to arrive at the number 
of troops who would be using special rations in 
each theater and the extent to which such ra- 
tions would be used each month. In the process, 
personnel of the Requirements Branch gave an 
increasing amount of attention to the influence 
of anticipated military operations upon special 
rations requirements in the several theaters. 
Thus in the computation of the program for 
April 1945, it was assumed that the European 
war would end that summer. Procurement re- 
quirements for special rations would therefore 
drop sharply, but when operations against Japan 
increased, they would probably rise again. An 
attempt was therefore made to determine the ex- 
tent of these needs in the Pacific, in order that 
the complex process of producing and assem- 
bling the components of the special rations 
might not be interrupted by cutbacks to the 
point where it would be impossible for produc- 
tion to rise in time to meet these needs. 106 

Reserves and Inventory Data 

Essential to computing net subsistence 
requirements of the Army were the necessary 
closing stock inventories and the actual open- 

ing inventories in the zone of interior and in 
theaters of operations. Except for inventories at 
regional and filler depots, which were ade- 
quately reflected in ASP computations, actual 
stock on hand was not used as a beginning 
credit in computing subsistence requirements. 
Forecasters simply assumed that stocks at posts, 
camps, and stations in the zone of interior and 
at overseas bases were authorized levels. 

In the February 1943 ASP an effort was made 
to use actual inventories insofar as these were 
available. Thus stock figures covering quantities 
on hand in depots, ports, and commercial or 
contractors' warehouses were used. Actual data 
on post, camp, and station inventories were 
used for the first time in computing the April 
1943 ASP, but the figures were limited to only 
certain items. 107 In most programs, forecasters 
continued to assume that stocks were at author- 
ized levels for posts, camps, and stations, and 
for overseas bases. 

Actual overseas stocks were not included in 
any of the calculations during the war because 
adequate information was not available. Had 
such information been available it might have 
been applied to reduce requirements in theaters 
of operations. A study made by the Subsistence 
Section of the Requirements Branch for the 
period January to July 1945 revealed that sub- 
sistence stocks overseas were on the average 55 
percent above the authorized levels. The excess 
stocks were greater for perishable items than 
for nonperishables. One third of the items were 
in excess of 100 percent or more. Of the items 
above authorized levels the average excess was 
about 80 percent; of items below authorized 
levels, the average deficit amounted to about 30 
percent. 108 

106 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Jan 46, sub: Army 
Forecasted Reqmts and Procurement of Special Rations 
During the Period, Jul 42-Aug 45, passim. 

107 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Oct 45, sub: Army . 
Subs and PX Reqmts, Jul 42-Aug 45, Pt. II, pp. 
10, 16. 

108 Ibid., Pt. Ill, p. 41. 



Each post, camp, and station in the zone of 
interior and each overseas theater was permitted 
to carry supplies equivalent to a certain number 
of days of supply for the personnel being sub- 
sisted at the end of the month. These author- 
ized operating levels were changed periodically 
by the War Department. As supply conditions 
changed, authorized levels in the various the- 
aters were revised from time to time. Although 
revisions were also made in zone of interior 
depot levels, these tended to remain at about 45 
days projected issue for the zone of interior and 
60 days for filler depots backing up overseas 
shipments. In addition to these operating 
reserves production reserves were established for 
certain subsistence items requiring additional 
stocks because of importing hazards, manu- 
facturing obstacles, such as setting up assembly 
lines for canned butter, and seasonal avail- 
ability, particularly in the case of processed 
fruits and vegetables. Such seasonal reserves 
were forecasted in terms of months of supply— 
for example, of canned peas— necessary to be on 
hand at the end of the calendar year to meet 
requirements until the new supply became 
available. Procurement of canned peas took 
place during a certain season of the year but 
since consumption occurred generally during 
the whole year, the advanced procurement car- 
ried in stock became seasonal reserves. 109 Oper- 
ating and production reserves insured a con- 
tinuous flow of subsistence through the supply 
pipeline to feed our troops at home and 

Overseas Procurement 

In estimating issue demand for overseas areas, 
allowance had to be made not only for pilfer- 
age and spoilage, as in the case of non- 
expendable items, but also for local procure- 
ment. During the war considerable quantities of 
subsistence items, particularly perishables, were 
obtained by local procurement overseas. Data 
on the quantities of subsistence so obtained 

were fragmentary and unsatisfactory. This 
information was used, however, to adjust gross 
overseas issue demands by deducting the 
amounts estimated as procurable in any given 
theater. Using the gross overseas issue demand 
rather than net requirements permitted a larger 
margin of safety. 110 

The February 1943 ASP was the first program 
in which an adjustment was made for estimated 
local procurement in the overseas theaters. By 
agreement with General Hardigg this adjust- 
ment was made applicable only to the 1943 
requirements and not to those of 1944. In the 
beginning such adjustments were made for the 
United Kingdom (UK), SPA, and the South- 
west Pacific Area (SWPA). Thus with the 
exception of coffee, canned fruits and vegeta- 
bles, multivitamin and salt tablets, all require- 
ments for troops in the SWPA, computed on 
menu No. 1 factors, were eliminated. This was 
made possible by very extensive local procure- 
ment in Australia. In subsequent programs con- 
sideration was given to local procurement in 
other theaters. 111 

Because of the limited usefulness of local 
procurement information, allowances were made 
only in the case of principal items. It was 
realized that local procurement of other items 
occurred, but such quantities were considered 
supplemental supplies. A preliminary study of 
local procurement for subsistence items was 
begun in June 1945 but not completed. On an 
area basis it showed that the bulk of the local 
procurement was concentrated in the SWPA, 
averaging about 60 percent of the total. For the 
rest, 25 percent was procured in the ETO, 10 
percent in the SPA, and only 5 percent in all the 
other areas. These percentage distributions, 
however, tend to indicate a more precise set of 

^ Ibid., Pt. Ill, pp. 28, 29. 

110 Ibid., Pt. Ill, p. 29. 

111 Memo, Col Cowles, OQMG, for Reqmts 
Div, ASF, 29 May 43, sub: Data on Foreign Procure- 
ment of Subs for ASP, and 1st ind, Hq ASF to 
TQMG, 1 1 Jun 43, 430. 



information than actually existed. 112 

As in the case of forecasting requirements for 
nonexpendable items, each of the elements 
entering into estimating subsistence require- 
ments was scrutinized by personnel of the 
Requirements Branch to promote greater accu- 
racy of the final results. While the scientific 
approach used in forecasting requirements fre- 
quently fell short of the goals of accuracy and 
co-ordination deemed desirable by the Require- 
ments Branch, many modifications toward 
those ends were effected. Subsistence forecasts 
in 1945 rested on a sounder basis than in 1941. 

Petroleum Requirements 

Administrative Developments 

Petroleum products are among the most 
important items of supply for a modern mech- 
anized army. The enormous demands for these 
products during World War II led to the grad- 
ual evolution of an organization which exercised 
centralized control over petroleum supply to 
the Army. 113 In the process, responsibility for 
the computation of long-term petroleum 
requirements was rapidly shifted from one unit 
to another in the OQMG. 114 In the spring of 
1942 when the OQMG was reorganized along 
functional lines, responsibility for determining 
Quartermaster petroleum requirements for the 
ASP was vested in the Requirements Branch of 
the Military Planning Division. By the end of 
the year, however, this responsibility had been 
transferred to the newly created Petroleum 
Branch in the Procurement Division. The 
Military Planning Division was to collaborate 
with the Petroleum Branch in the compilation 
of long-term petroleum requirements but in 
actuality the Petroleum Branch became respon- 
sible for them. The Military Planning Division 
thereafter merely acted as an agency through 
which requirements were submitted to Head- 
quarters, SOS, in order that a more uniform 
presentation of the Quartermaster program 

might be made. Six months later on 1 June 
1943 the Petroleum Branch was replaced by the 
Fuels and Lubricants Division. For the remain- 
der of the war this division computed petro- 
leum requirements and was responsible for all 
petroleum functions assigned to the QMC. The 
Military Planning Division remained the chan- 
nel through which supply programs were trans- 
mitted to Headquarters, ASF. 115 

Prior to the war and until the summer of 
1942 each supply service computed its own 
petroleum requirements. These were assembled 
in a more or less haphazard manner and were 
usually greatly out of line with actual require- 
ments. By mid- 1942, in view of the prospect of 
nationwide gasoline and fuel oil rationing, it 
was essential that Army petroleum require- 
ments be accurate in order that shortages might 
be forecast and supply programs planned 
accordingly. Though Army requirements were 
small in comparison with those of the Navy or 
the Air Forces, it was advisable to anticipate 
them well in advance of actual need. 

The first step toward bringing requirements 
into line was taken on 19 August 1942 when 
Headquarters, SOS, directed the Requirements 
Branch, OQMG, to make a study of the prob- 
lem. In particular it was to draw up the petro- 
leum requirements of the Army for the balance 
of 1942 and all of 1943 and 1944 for incorpora- 
tion into the September 1942 ASP. To accom- 
plish this it was necessary for the Requirements 
Branch to obtain estimated requirements from 
each of the various supply services and ascer- 
tain the basis for calculating such requirements 

112 Rpt, Reqmts Br, OQMG, Oct 45, Army Subs 
and PX Reqmts, Jul 42-Aug 45, Pt. Ill, p. 47. 

113 See above, Ch. I, pp. 34-35. 

IU For a full analysis of the development of the 
petroleum organization and the computation of petro- 
leum requirements see Erna Risch, Fuels for Global 
Conflict QMC Historical Studies 9, rev ed (Washing- 
ton, 1952) pp. 1-17. 

115 (1) OQMG OO 25-22, 3 Dec 42, sub: Reasgmt 
of QM Functions Relating to Petri. (2) OQMG OO 
25-37, 29 May 43, sub: Establishment of F&L Div. 



in each instance. 

In the course of preparing this program it 
became apparent that standard methods of 
requesting requirements, presenting and sub- 
mitting them, and setting up reserve stocks 
would have to be established. In the interest of 
accuracy and as a means of co-ordinating the 
requirements of all services, the Requirements 
Branch proposed that one individual be 
appointed in each supply service and the Army 
Ground Forces with the responsibility for col- 
lecting, compiling, and submitting petroleum 
requirements. This proposal was acted upon 
favorably and such "custodians" were appointed. 
A referee, named by the director of the Require- 
ments Division, SOS, acted as the clearing 
agent for that organization. Where discrep- 
ancies in the estimates submitted were observed 
by the Requirements Branch, OQMG, and the 
matter could not be resolved informally with 
the service concerned, the question was laid 
before the referee of the Requirements Divi- 
sion, SOS, for decision. In no event, however, 
"would the Requirements Branch of OQMG 
go directly to the Services involved in an 
attempt to iron out discrepancies in require- 
ments." ll6 It was hoped that this procedure 
would insure complete coverage for all services, 
prevent duplication of requirements, and estab- 
lish standard methods in computing them. The 
computation of accurate petroleum require- 
ments was needed not only for purposes of the 
ASP but by Brig. Gen. Walter B. Pyron, Chief 
for Operations, Fuel Section, Resources Divi- 
sion, SOS, who at this time was responsible for 
co-ordinating the total petroleum requirements 
of the Army— exclusive of the AAF— with the 
Office of the Petroleum Coordinator, the Army- 
Navy Petroleum Board, and with other gov- 
ernmental agencies. 

The procedure of channeling requirements 
through the OQMG continued when the Petro- 
leum Branch was established in December 
1942. The branch computed requirements for 

gasoline, oil, and lubricants for all armored 
motor and track-laying vehicles. It secured from 
the other supply services and from the AAF in 
relation to its ground equipment all other 
petroleum requirements, which were then 
assembled into the ASP and submitted to the 
Resources Division, ASF 117 Staff responsibili 
ties were lodged with the Fuels Branch of thi 
division, which screened 118 and adjusted 
requirements in the light of long-range produc- 
tion possibilities and transmitted them to the 
Requirements Division, ASF, for inclusion in 
the ASP, and to the Army-Navy Petroleum 
Board. The chief of the Fuels Branch continued 
to act as the War Department liaison officer for 

When the Fuels and Lubricants Division was 
established, it retained all the operating respon- 
sibility formerly exercised by the Petroleum 
Branch and in addition was made responsible 
for the performance of all staff functions neces- 
sary to the discharge of these operating respon- 
sibilities, with the exception of certain ones 
specifically assigned to Headquarters, ASF 119 
Thus, insofar as requirements were concerned 
the Planning Division, ASF, was to screen re- 
quirements and requisitions received from thea- 
ters of operations. Within two weeks, however, 

116 (1) Dr. Macy to Dr. Baker, Reqmts Br, OQMG, 
23 Sep 42, sub: Conf with Brig Gen W. B. Pyron on 
Petri Reqmts. (2) Memo, Maj John L. King, Chief of 
Fuels Sec, Resources Div, for Gen Pyron, Chief for 
Opns, Resources Div, SOS, 1 Oct 42, sub: Army Petri 
Reqmts— Exclusive of Aircraft of AAF. (3) Memo, Dir 
of Resources Div, SOS, for Dir of Reqmts Div, SOS, 
3 Oct 42, sub: Reqmts for Petri. (4) 2d ind, Col 
Cowles, OQMG, to Hq SOS, 17 Oct 42, on same. 
All in 463. 

117 (1) WD Cir 317, Sec. Ill, 17 Sep 42, sub: Re- 
sponsibility for Gasoline, Lubricants and Misc Items. 
(2) ASF Adm Memo S-20, 20 Mar 43, sub: Proce- 
dure, Storage and Distr of Petri Products. 

118 Screening was a process of evaluating estimates 
against all the known factors and included the elimi- 
nation of duplications which might otherwise have 
been overlooked. 

119 ASF Cir 33, 26 May 43, sub: Procurement, Stor- 
age, and Distr of Petri Products. 



this responsibility had been delegated to the 
Fuels and Lubricants Division. 1 - In effect, the 
Requirements Branch of that division inherited 
the responsibilities formerly exercised by the 
Fuels Branch of the Resources and Production 
Division, ASF. 

In the performance of its staff functions per- 
taining to requirements of petroleum products, 
excluding those for AAF aircraft, the Fuels and 
Lubricants Division formulated policies govern- 
ing the technical services in their computation 
of requirements, it supervised and standardized 
methods, and it screened and adjusted such re- 
quirements in accordance with consumption 
factors and records of consumption collected 
and maintained by the OQMG. 

From the summer of 1943 to the end of the 
war the Fuels and Lubricants Division was re- 
sponsible for estimating petroleum require- 
ments for the entire United States Army 
throughout the world, except petroleum used 
in aircraft. It was solely responsible for estimat- 
ing the gasoline, lubricating oil, grease, and 
other products to be used in all general purpose 
vehicles, in motorcycles, passenger cars, trucks, 
and tanks, regardless of the service or branch of 
the Army using the vehicle or product, either in 
the zone of interior or overseas. In addition, it 
was responsible for estimating the quantity of 
petroleum used in many types of special equip- 
ment. Of course, the individual technical serv- 
ices developed basic estimating data incidental 
to petroleum requirements for their special pur- 
pose vehicles and equipment, such as crash- 
trucks in the Air Corps, barges, ferries, and 
locomotives for Transportation, fog oil and gas- 
oline for bombs for Chemical Warfare Service, 
petrolatum for the Medical Department, gaso- 
line and diesel fuel for the operation of power 
units by the Signal Corps, and asphalt for roads 
and fuel oil for utilities for the Engineers. 

Once the division had assembled, screened, 
and adjusted these requirements they were sub- 
mitted for review and approval to the Require- 

ments Division, ASF. This review was, in fact, 
an acceptance of the program. In addition, the 
Fuels and Lubricants Division assembled and 
submitted to the International Division, ASF, 
the petroleum requirements for civilians in oc- 
cupied territories. These requirements were 
then submitted to the Combined Civil Affairs 
Committee for final review, approval, and in- 
corporation into the ASP. All requirements 
were then forwarded to the Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board. It is significant that the director of 
the Fuels and Lubricants Division acted as dep- 
uty to the Commanding General, ASF, in his 
capacity as a member of this board. The board 
reviewed and combined Army requirements 
with those of the AAF aircraft and the Navy 
and transmitted them along with lend-lease re- 
quirements to the Petroleum Administration 
for War. There the requirements were reviewed 
and screened by the Requirements Committee, 
of which the director of the Fuels and Lubri- 
cants Division was a member and his chief of 
the Requirements Branch was an alternate. 
Thereafter allocation of material was made by 
the WPB. Subsequently the Fuels and Lubri- 
cants Division notified the technical services of 
the approval, or, if reductions occurred, it made 
allocations between the technical services and 
the AAF and notified them accordingly. 121 

Elements in Forecasting Petroleum 

The collection and analysis of factors of ex- 
perience and service were fundamental to im- 
provement in estimating petroleum require- 
ments. When the Requirements Branch of the 
Military Planning Division was called upon to 
compute petroleum requirements for the Sep- 
tember 1942 ASP, it found itself then and later 

120 Memo, Dir of Opns ASF, for TQMG, 10 Jun 
43, sub: Screening Reqmts and Reqns, 463. 

121 Address, Chief of Reqmts Br to officers of 
branch, Dec 43, sub: Staff Responsibilities of Reqmts 



suffering from a lack of basic data. The branch 
had barely begun to use the improved methods 
it was developing for computing requirements 
for other Quartermaster items when changes in 
organization transferred these problems first to 
the Petroleum Branch and then to the Fuels and 
Lubricants Division. Each of these organizations 
built upon the work of its predecessor, collect- 
ing data on factors and improving the tech- 
niques used in the computation of petroleum 

Three factors— consumption, service, and 
usage— had to be considered in computing 
petroleum requirements. 122 Petroleum products 
were expendable items, and the consumption 
factor was, therefore, the amount of fuel or 
lubricants that a given piece of equipment con- 
sumed in a given period of time. Consumption 
of gasoline by a vehicle varied in periods of 
actual combat, during inactive periods, when 
operating in cold, moderate, or temperate cli- 
mates, or according to topography, that is, in 
the desert, mountains, plains, or jungle. While 
the various types of terrain and climate had a 
considerable effect on the requirements for 
petroleum products, insufficient information 
was available for quantitative determination of 
these effects. 

The service factor was the time period of op- 
eration. Consideration had to be given to the 
length of time that a certain piece of fixed 
equipment was operated; for example, the num- 
ber of hours per day that a company used its 
cooking stove, the number of hours per day that 
generating equipment for a radio station oper- 
ated, or the number of hours per day necessary 
to provide heating in a base or field hospital. 
Some equipment was both mobile and station- 
ary, using petroleum on both counts. Thus, a 
truck-mounted air compressor consumed fuel 
while moving under its own power and when 
operating as a piece of stationary equipment. 
The usage factor was obtained by multiplying 
the consumption factor by the service factor. 

The first step in computing petroleum re- 
quirements was to determine the consumption 
factors in gallons of fuel per day or per mile as 
might be appropriate for each individual type 
of equipment, ranging from a kerosene lantern 
to a searchlight, and from a motorcycle to a 
tank, operating under normal conditions. When 
the requirements for each kind of product for 
all equipment in a military unit using such 
products were added together, consumption fac- 
tors could be estimated for the unit. The total 
unit consumption factors for all the units in the 
Army equaled the total requirements of the 
Army, but only for normal conditions. It was 
necessary to adjust the normal unit consump- 
tion factors for variations in climate, terrain, 
and other special conditions of the season or 
region in which the vehicles would operate by 
multiplying the consumption factor by an oper- 
ation factor. The latter was the ratio of gaso- 
line consumed under special or irregular condi- 
tions of operation to that consumed under 
normal conditions. This result multiplied by the 
estimated average miles per day which the vehi- 
cles were expected to travel— thereby giving the 
vehicle consumption factor in gallons per day- 
times the number of days in the period equaled 
the total requirements for petroleum products. 

Consumption factors for stationary equip- 
ment were listed in gallons per day. Since most 
of this equipment was used intermittently, these 
factors were based on an average use of the 
equipment for a certain number of hours per 
day. The average number of hours of operation 
per day for some of the equipment was fairly 
constant under all conditions, as for example, 
field ranges, stoves, water heaters, and radios. 
The hours of operation per day of other equip- 

122 The following discussion of factors is largely 
based on a report prepared by a firm of statistical en- 
giners for the Fuels and Lubricants Division. Rpt, 
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and W. Earle Andrews 
for F&L Div, OQMG, 30 Nov 43, sub: Rpt of Fuels 
and Lubricants Survey. See particularly the section, 
Factors for Estimating Petri Reqmts. 



ment might vary widely according to the condi- 
tions of use, as in the case of a fog generator, a 
surgical power unit, or a water purification unit. 

One important approach to the problem of 
accuracy in computing petroleum requirements 
was the formulation and establishment of ade- 
quate records on consumption and inventory 
both in the zone of interior and the theaters of 
operations. Headquarters, ASF, required The 
Quartermaster General to "collect and maintain 
records of petroleum consumption factors." 123 
To this end the Petroleum Branch initiated a re- 
curring report, further refined by the Fuels and 
Lubricants Division, which started an experi- 
ence record for the zone of interior. 124 By the 
end of 1943 the problem of securing an accurate 
determination of stocks, issues, and require- 
ments of the Army (except AAF aircraft) in the 
zone of interior was well in hand. 

Basic information from the theaters of oper- 
ations, however, was inadequate. The petroleum 
analyst had no one standardized report from the 
theaters. Instead he was dependent for informa- 
tion on the automatic supply report prepared 
by ports of embarkation, the "stat report" of the 
area petroleum officer in the theater, and a num- 
ber of miscellaneous reports. None of these 
produced any real information of value in ob- 
taining either consumption or future require- 
ments of the Army. To replace this variety of 
inadequate reports the Requirements Branch of 
the Fuels and Lubricants Division designed a 
monthly report called "The Fuels and Petro- 
leum Report" to be submitted from all overseas 
commands showing stocks and receipts by 
sources, issues to claimant agencies, and require- 
ments of the United States Army for thirty-one 
classifications of petroleum products as well as 
for 5- and 55-gallon drums. This report became 
the basis for the successful control of petroleum 
allocation by the Army-Navy Petroleum Board, 
for accurately estimating requirements for the- 
aters of operations, and for providing an ac- 
counting system for lend-lease in reference to 

various types of petroleum products. 125 

By mid- 1944 great strides had been made in 
the collection of data and the improvement of 
techniques upon which to base the computa- 
tion of accurate petroleum requirements. As 
conditions changed, the basis of estimating re- 
quirements changed; hence the problem re- 
mained one of continuous study for the Fuels 
and Lubricants Division. While the computa- 
tion of petroleum products has been selected 
for illustrative purposes here, it should be noted 
that this division was also responsible for com- 
puting the requirements of the Army for solid 
fuels and for containers for petroleum products. 


Whether requirements were being computed 
for clothing, equipment, subsistence, or petro- 
leum products, the basic needs at the beginning 
of World War II were accurate data and records 
on which forecasters might base their estimates. 
A dearth of such information existed in 1941, 
but until material shortages appeared this had 
no untoward effect. During 1942 the problem 
of procurement planning and requirements fore- 
casting became more difficult. Then the need 
for logically sound concepts and ideas concern- 
ing requirements, for scientific statistical meth- 
ods, and for the development of basic records 
was evident. Trained personnel were brought 
into the OQMG for this purpose, and methods 
were modified in the light of their findings. Re- 
finements of methods continued till the end of 
the war. By that time, too, the fundamental 
procurement authority was no longer based 
upon the ASP but upon the Supply Control 
Report, which embodied a close supervision of 
supply planning and operations. 

123 ASF Adm Memo S-20, 20 Mar 43, sub: Procure- 
ment, Storage, and Distr of Petri Products. 

124 For elaboration of these reports see Risch, Fuels 
for Global Conflict, pp. 26-27, 33-34. 

125 This report was put into effect by WD Letter, 
29 Mar 44, file AG 463.7 (21 Mar 44) OB-S-D- 


Procurement Policies and 

Military procurement is a complex, fluid, and 
integrated process in which the various phases 
of supply— from research and development of 
items to their purchase, distribution, mainte- 
nance, and salvage— are closely interdependent. 
In this discussion, however, procurement is 
more narrowly defined to include the policies, 
procedures, and administrative arrangements 
under which Quartermaster contracts were 
placed and production on them was controlled 
to insure delivery in the quantity, quality, and 
time required. 

The huge volume and complexity of war pro- 
curement placed unprecedented demands on the 
Quartermaster Corps and its suppliers. The pro- 
curement mission of the Corps involved much 
more than contracting for the production and 
delivery of the approximately 70,000 different 
items assigned to it for purchase. Not only did 
the OQMG have to streamline its procurement 
organization and procedures to insure efficiency 
and economy of operations but Quartermaster 
personnel had to perform many tasks inextrica- 
bly interwoven with the job of purchasing. 
These included servicing contracts at every 
stage to insure delivery of needed supplies; re- 
lentlessly following up contract performance 
and rendering engineering assistance to elimi- 
nate chokepoints in production; developing 
and implementing techniques to guarantee a 
steady flow of materials and component parts 
to Quartermaster suppliers; and inspecting 

goods efficiently and promptly to permit their 
rapid movement to the points where they were 

The Quartermaster Supply System in 1939 

The essential character of the war supply sys- 
tem of the Corps had been fairly well developed 
in peacetime. During World War I and in the 
interlude of peace following the war years, cen- 
tralized purchase of the basic items of supply 
became the core of Quartermaster operations. 1 
The OQMG was the procurement control 
agency for the centralized purchase operations 
conducted by a few key depots. It formulated 
and supervised the execution of policy, issued 
procurement directives, maintained liaison with 
higher authority, and helped to eliminate pro- 
curement bottlenecks. The key depots, to which 
were allocated certain classes of items for pur- 
chase either for depot stock or for distribution 
to other depots or points of consumption, fed 
the regional distributing areas into which the 
country was divided. The basic feature of the 

1 H. B. Yoshpe and M. U. Massen, Procurement Pol- 
icies and Procedures in the Quartermaster Corps During 
World War II (QMC Historical Studies 17, June 1947), 
pp. 7-12. Hereafter cited as Procurement Policies and 
Procedures. The following discussion of procurement is 
largely indebted to this study and to Yoshpe, Produc- 
tion Control in the Quartermaster Corps, 1939-44 (QMC 
Historical Studies 8, December 1944). Hereafter cited 
as Production Control in QMC. 



field purchasing system was this centralized 
purchase of specialty items. Thus, all footwear 
was contracted for by the Boston Quartermaster 
Depot, clothing by the Philadelphia Depot, 
motor transport items by the Holabird Depot, 
and tentage and manufactured canvas articles by 
the Jeffersonville Depot. These depots drew 
upon the entire country for their requirements, 
soliciting formal sealed bids from all interested 
suppliers, awarding contracts to the lowest re- 
sponsible bidders, and servicing these contracts 
through every stage to completion. 

A substantial amount of regional and local 
buying of various articles of a general nature 
supplemented this centralized procurement sys- 
tem. Quartermaster installations in the distrib- 
uting areas procured not only all Quartermaster 
supplies of a general nature but also any item 
which a central procurement depot or another 
supply service requested them to purchase. The 
posts, camps, and stations were the final link in 
the procurement chain. They were responsible 
for the local purchase of subsistence, forage, 
maintenance items, and such emergency items 
as were ordered by corps area or district quar- 

Centralization of procurement control in the 
OQMG and concentration of purchase respon- 
sibility for certain classes of items at designated 
key depots thus characterized the procurement 
organization of the QMC in 1939. Contracts, 
however, might be placed in any section of the 
country. By the beginning of World War II the 
QMC had developed the utmost confidence in 
the effectiveness of its supply system for meet- 
ing both normal and expanded Army needs. 

To meet the requirements of its peacetime 
supply system, the Corps purchased directly 
from industry and from government agencies, 
or under contracts executed by them. It also 
participated in the interbranch procurement sys- 
tem. 2 This system was a product of World War 
I experience and had the effect of making the 
QMC "the most important of the War Depart- 

ment purchasing agencies." 3 In an effort to 
avoid the consequences of harmful interagency 
competition, the President had consolidated 
Army purchasing through the establishment of 
an interbureau procurement system on the 
authority granted by the Overman Act of May 
1918. It permitted one supply service to pur- 
chase goods for another. This wartime emer- 
gency idea was carried over into the National 
Defense Act of 1920. The Corps' part in the 
program was especially large because under this 
act The Quartermaster General was charged 
with "the purchase and procurement for the 
Army of all supplies of standard manufacture 
and all supplies common to two or more 
branches." 4 Other supply services were re- 
quired to participate in indefinite-quantity con- 
tracts executed by The Quartermaster General 
or any agency under his control, except when 
the needs of the requiring service did not per- 
mit the delay incident to such purchase. Before 
World War II, however, this program of cen- 
tralizing the purchasing function for items com- 
mon to the needs of various supply services de- 
veloped very slowly. 5 

The elimination of interagency competition 
was also promoted by the system of interdepart- 
mental procurement. 6 Dictated by laws or other 
instructions, this system consolidated require- 
ments of various agencies and centralized sup- 

2 Interbranch procurement is the procurement of 
supplies by one supply arm, service, or bureau for an- 
other such arm, service, or bureau. AR 5-300, 10 Dec 
36, sub: ASW: Procurement of Supplies. 

3 Annual Report of The Quartermaster General, 1919 
(Washington, 1920), p. 19. 

4 41 U. S. Statutes 766. 

5 For steps taken in the decade of the thirties see 
Yoshpe and Massen, Procurement Policies and Procedures, 
pp. 21-22. 

6 As distinguished from interbranch procurement, 
interdepartmental procurement is the procurement of 
supplies by one executive department or independent 
agency of the government from another such depart- 
ment or agency, or under a contract executed by the 
latter. AR 5-300, 10 Oct 36, sub: ASW: Procurement 
of Supplies. 



ply responsibility. It was particularly effective 
in peacetime, when the need for supplies could 
be estimated in advance and the necessary ar- 
rangements made for satisfactory delivery. Un- 
der the system, the supplying agencies— for 
example, the Treasury Department— issued 
schedules containing detailed information as to 
the items, procedures to be followed, and the 
departments that were required to participate in 
this manner of purchase. The QMC merely 
drew a purchase order on the contractor of the 
supplying agency at the prices designated in the 
contract, and goods were made available direct 
to posts and stations. 

Many Quartermaster items were acquired 
through participation in contracts negotiated by 
other federal departments. The most important 
of these purchases were made under the Gen- 
eral Schedule of Supplies of the Treasury De- 
partment. Among the basic items covered by 
such indefinite-quantity contracts were: tires, 
tubes, and other motor vehicle accessories and 
parts; gasoline, fuel oil, and diesel engine oil 
delivered in tank cars, tank wagons, and drums; 
machine tools, small machinery, and accessories 
and parts; electrical supplies; and office furni- 
ture and equipment. It was mandatory for the 
QMC to obtain these supplies from such Treas- 
ury Procurement Schedules. Even before the 
establishment of the Procurement Division in 
the Treasury Department in 1933, the Corps 
participated in lubricating oil contracts entered 
into annually by the Navy Department. After 
1933 the Navy Department continued to be 
designated as the procuring agency for lubricat- 
ing oils and for gasoline, fuel oil, and diesel 
engine oil for marine deliveries. 7 Unless the 
"Contract Bulletin" of the Navy Department 
stated otherwise, or unless exemption was spe- 
cifically obtained, the QMC purchased these 
supplies on contracts executed by the Navy 

It was also compulsory for the Corps to pur- 
chase such goods as met its requirements from 

federal prison industries and from the Commit- 
tee on Purchases of Blind-Made Products. 8 
These purchases included such items as brooms, 
pillowcases, and cotton felt mattresses. The 
Corps acquired various supplies from still other 
federal agencies, such as plain and printed en- 
velopes from the Post Office Department, and 
inks, glues, and other supplies carried in stock 
by the Government Printing Office. 

The requirements of the Corps' peacetime 
supply system also were filled through the man- 
ufacturing operations of certain of its depots. 
Such depot factories had been in existence since 
the early days of the nation's military history. 9 
A large plant at the Philadelphia Depot man- 
ufactured and renovated a great variety of cloth- 
ing and textile and canvas products. In the 
decade before World War II this factory pro- 
duced all the outer clothing for the enlisted per- 
sonnel of the Regular Army and was an impor- 
tant source of supply for the National Guard. 
Various shops at the Jeffersonville Depot man- 
ufactured and repaired leather products, such as 
harness items and saddles. They also produced 
tents and other canvas articles as well as metal, 
woodworking, tin, and sheetmetal products. A 
third center of manufacturing operations was 
located at the Holabird Depot, where motor 
transport activities were centralized. With the 
great automotive industry professing its readi- 
ness to furnish the QMC anything it required, 
it was contrary to War Department policy to 
make trucks. Fire-fighting vehicles, however, 
were assembled at Holabird, and maintenance 

7 (1) See OQMG Cir 1-4, 1 Mar 39, sub: Procure- 
ment and Distr of Supplies. (2) Erna Risch, Fuels for 
Global Conflict, QMC Historical Studies 9, rev ed 
(Washington, 1952), p. 43. 

8 (1) 46 U. S. Statutes 392, Act of 27 May 30. (2) 
52 U. S. Statutes 1 196, Act of 25 Jun 38. 

9 For a detailed account of one such plant see Paul 
R. Doolin, The Factory at the Philadelphia Quarter- 
master Depot (PQMD hist rpt, Jul 46). On file at 
Hist Sec, OQMG. 



units were engaged in the general repair and re- 
building of all types of motor vehicle equip- 
ment from 1918, when the work was first begun 
at the depot, until the summer of 1942, when 
this responsibility was transferred to the Ord- 
nance Department. 

The National Defense Act of 1920 authorized 
the Assistant Secretary of War to have manu- 
factured at the government arsenals or govern- 
ment-owned factories all supplies needed by the 
War Department which they could produce on 
an economical basis. Notwithstanding this leg- 
islative mandate, repeated efforts were made by 
business interests and their congressional 
spokesmen to curtail or abolish these manufac- 
turing operations, on the ground that they con- 
stituted unfair competition with commercial 
enterprise. Such charges were made particularly 
in depression periods. In the years following 
the panic of 1929 persistent pressure resulted in 
a substantial reduction of some Quartermaster 
manufacturing operations, a reduction which 
continued until the outbreak of World War II. 10 

Factors other than their ability to meet sup- 
ply requirements justified the continued exist- 
ence of depot factory operations. Depot experi- 
ence in production provided yardsticks for 
establishing minimum costs which became gov- 
erning factors in setting prices to be paid con- 
tractors, thereby reducing profiteering. The 
depot factory also served as a manufacturing 
laboratory for testing new manufacturing meth- 
ods, for manufacturing pilot samples of new 
items, and for experimenting with substitutions 
of materials and equipment. Furthermore, when 
the need arose, the depots were in a position to 
furnish expert guidance to industry in the inter- 
pretation of Army specifications. The continu- 
ous operation of the depot factories also served 
as a cushion in meeting the initial demands of 
mobilization and offsetting the inevitable delays 
incident to putting unusual requirements into 

The policies, laws, and regulations governing 

Quartermaster procurement remained generally 
static in the two decades preceding the declara- 
tion of the emergency. The Corps purchased 
supplies on the basis of competitive bidding, 
and, except under special conditions, it adhered 
to the formal advertising procedure by means of 
circular proposal rather than newspaper adver- 
tising. Articles or services could be procured by 
open-market purchase, but the use of this meth- 
od was limited to emergencies when the public 
exigency required immediate delivery or per- 
formance, to purchases of relatively low cost— a 
maximum of $500 was placed on any such pur- 
chase—and to those instances where advertising 
was impracticable. In addition, the Corps used 
indefinite-quantity contracts for services and 
supplies, such as perishable subsistence, the de- 
mand for which was so variable that it could 
not with safety obligate itself to purchase defi- 
nite amounts. 11 

War Procurement Plans 

During the years when the operating person- 
nel of the QMC were developing a centralized 
procurement system, the planners were formu- 
lating their war procurement plans based on a 
radically different concept. The need to plan for 
war production and procurement in advance of 
an emergency resulted directly from the un- 
happy supply experience of World War I. The 
purpose of such planning was to eliminate the 
disastrous interagency competition of World 
War I; to minimize production delays; to direct 
the national resources into essential channels; 
and to avoid industrial congestion, transporta- 
tion difficulties, skyrocketing prices, undue cur- 

10 Yoshpe and Massen, Procurement Policies and Pro- 
cedures, pp. 16-18. 

11 (1) See ibid., pp. 22-24 for elaboration of these 
peacetime contracting practices. (2) Regulations gov- 
erning contracting procedures are to be found in the 
5-series of Army Regulations and in OQMD Circular 



tailment of civilian needs, and unnecessary post- 
war dislocations. 12 

In contrast to the peacetime central procure- 
ment system, the war procurement plans of the 
Corps revolved around the idea of decentraliza- 
tion to procurement districts that were more or 
less coterminous with the corps areas into 
which the country was divided for military pur- 
poses. These districts were to draw upon the 
production facilities within their own regions 
for the food, clothing, shelter, and equipment 
needed by the troops to be mobilized in the 
corps areas. The procurement planners furthered 
the objective of regional self-sufficiency in war- 
time by surveying the industrial facilities of 
these districts, allocating them to the needs of 
the Corps, and executing schedules of produc- 
tion with plants earmarked for the use of the 
Corps. Furthermore, on M Day and during the 
subsequent war the procurement plans provided 
for abandonment of the formal advertising 
method and the negotiation of contracts with 
the allocated facilities in accordance with these 
detailed, periodically revised plans. All these 
plans were to go into effect on M Day, when 
procurement planning activities were to be ab- 
sorbed by current procurement. 

As it turned out the transition from a state of 
limited emergency proclaimed by the President 
in 1939 to war was so gradual that no M Day 
was recognized. Despite the expanding pur- 
chasing program, the QMC procurement or- 
ganization and techniques underwent no radical 
changes following the declaration of limited 
emergency. No authority was granted for allo- 
cating orders as proposed in the Industrial Mo- 
bilization Plan. Not until the spring of 1942 did 
the Corps abandon formal advertising. As the 
emergency progressed, it gradually extended 
contract negotiation, but the principle of com- 
petition remained the basis of Quartermaster 
procurement. No immediate merger of procure- 
ment planning with current procurement oc- 
curred. For ten months after Pearl Harbor 

procurement planning in the Corps went on as 
a separate activity side by side with current pro- 
curement. During this period the planners aided 
the depots in advising manufacturers on Quar- 
termaster requirements and procurement pol- 
icies, investigating contract delinquencies, and 
performing other useful services. The official 
existence of procurement planning was ended 
on 3 October 1942 13 when the OQMG discon- 
tinued its offices and made its personnel and 
equipment available to the commanding officers 
of the depots. 14 

Developments in Procurement Organization 

As a result of World War I experience, Con- 
gress provided in the National Defense Act that 
responsibility for supervision of the procure- 
ment of all military supplies should be vested 
in the Assistant Secretary of War. By con- 
gressional action in 1940 his title was changed 
to Under Secretary of War. His procurement 
supervisory duties expanded as the procurement 
activities of the supply arms and services grew. 
Until March 1942 the line of authority on pro- 
curement matters extended directly from the 
Office of the Under Secretary of War to The 
Quartermaster General and the chiefs of the 

12 (1) For an exhaustive analysis of the evolution of 
plans for the over- all administrative and industrial con- 
trols required in war consult Harold W. Thatcher, 
Planning for Industrial Mobilization, 1920-40 (QMC 
Historical Studies 4, August 1943). (2) For a com- 
prehensive account of the development of Quarter- 
master procurement plans developed in accordance 
with the requirements set forth in the Industrial Mo- 
bilization Plan, see Thomas M. Pitkin and Herbert R. 
Rifkind, Procurement Planning in the Quartermaster 
Corps, 1920-40 (QMC Historical Studies 1, March 

13 Ltr, Gen Corbin, Procurement Div, OQMG, to 
CO BQMD, 3 Oct 42, sub: Discontinuance of War 
Procurement Ping. Other depots were notified by an 
identical letter. 

14 For an analysis of the contributions made by the 
procurement planners during the period 1939 to 1942 
see Yoshpe and Massen, Procurement Policies and 
Procedures, pp. 30-38. 



other supply services. At that time the creation 
of the Services of Supply interposed another 
office between The Quartermaster General and 
the Under Secretary of War. 

Outside the War Department the national 
defense program established other govern- 
mental agencies which had a direct and very 
definite influence on procurement operations 
within the QMC. The principal agency in this 
respect at first was the National Defense 
Advisory Committee, which was originally 
designed to encourage the expansion of indus- 
trial production and to assist and advise all 
national defense agencies procuring supplies in 
the co-ordination of their efforts where these 
were in conflict. It was followed by the Office 
of Production Management, which in turn was 
replaced by the War Production Board, the 
most important single agency directing eco- 
nomic mobilization during the war. 

Within the OQMG, procurement responsi- 
bility in 1939 was vested in a supply Division. 15 
This commodity-type organization, which had 
evolved many years before the emergency, con- 
tinued to function until early in 1942. Five 
branches of the Supply Division— Clothing and 
Equipage, General Supplies, Remount (ani- 
mals), Subsistence, and Fuel and Construction 
Materials— were responsible for procuring the 
various Quartermaster commodities. 

As the procurement program of the Corps 
expanded, however, the OQMG in 1940 estab- 
lished a Procurement Control Branch within 
the Administrative Division 16 in an effort to 
assure compliance with all acts of Congress and 
all policies, instructions, and regulations of 
superior defense agencies. Generally this branch 
performed staff functions. It was charged with 
controlling and co-ordinating all matters relat- 
ing to procurement policy and procedure. It 
furnished legal advice on all procurement 
questions, such as those relating to preference 
ratings, assignment of contracts, making 
advance payments, the issue of tax amortization 

certificates, and the execution of emergency 
plant facilities contracts and Defense Plant 
Corporation leases. The branch maintained 
liaison on all matters of procurement policy and 
procedure with other divisions of the OQMG, 
with higher echelons, and with other agencies. 

Early in January 1941 this branch, together 
with others concerned with the determination 
of requirements, procurement plans, and the 
expediting of production, was transferred to a 
Planning and Control Division, newly created 
to strengthen staff supervision in the OQMG. 17 
This division became responsible for continu- 
ing the review and co-ordination of procure- 
ment policies and procedures. Shortly after 
Pearl Harbor the Procurement Control Branch 
was replaced by the Purchase and Contract 
Branch in the same division. By that time its 
functions had been widened so that it was also 
charged with authorizing the negotiation of 
contracts, reviewing proposed financing of 
Quartermaster contractors, co-ordinating and 
supervising the distribution of defense orders, 
and reporting on labor difficulties to the Office 
of the Under Secretary of War. 18 A Contract 
Examination Branch in the same division 
reviewed contracts and handled change orders. 

Running throughout the procurement proc- 
ess in this period were the policies and proce- 
dures established and supervised by the 
Planning and Control Division. It administered 
all matters pertaining to priorities, conserva- 
tion, contract distribution, labor, general pro- 
curement policies of higher authority, and all 
pertinent legal problems. This did not mean 
that the division scrutinized all steps in a 

15 The Motor Transport and the Water Transport 
Branches of the Transportation Division procured 
motor vehicles and water transport supplies. OQMG 
OO 4, 7 Jan 37, sub: Office Orgn. 

16 OQMG OO 32, 22 Jun 40, no sub. 

17 (1) OQMG OO 10, 15 Jan 41, no sub. (2) 
OQMG OO 25A, 24 Mar 41, no sub. 

18 OQMG OO 2 5 A, 31 Dec 41, sub: Orgn and 
Functions, Ping & Control Div. 



procurement process, nor that papers had to be 
routed to and cleared by it. Its functions might 
be "properly likened to the general background 
of the entire process rather than specific opera- 
tions in connection with each individual 
procurement." 19 

Although staff supervision had been strength- 
ened, a commodity-type organization continued 
to function in the OQMG until March 1942, 
when the establishment of the SOS led to a 
move to realign the technical services and their 
field organizations in a similar functional pat- 
tern. In the OQMG a Procurement Service 
(later Division), headed during the war years 
by Brig. Gen. (later Maj. Gen.) Clifford L. 
Corbin, acquired the procurement control func- 
tions of the former Planning and Control Divi- 
sion and the procurement directing functions of 
the old Supply Division. 20 

The concept of placing all procurement 
activity under the control of one division 
organized along functional lines, however, was 
not realized. Clothing, textiles, general supplies, 
and equipment were purchased by the Procure- 
ment Division, but the handling of petroleum 
products and subsistence items raised problems 
which could not be solved by a division of pur- 
chasing and distribution activities among the 
functional divisions. As a consequence, these 
items were purchased throughout the war by 
branches or divisions organized on a com- 
modity basis. 21 With these exceptions procure- 
ment remained organized along functional lines 
during World War II. 

In the fall of 1942 the OQMG turned its 
attention to improving the procurement organ- 
izations of its depots. In accordance with a 
directive from Headquarters, SOS, early in the 
following year, it initiated a program for the 
purpose of installing a standard procurement 
organization in all Quartermaster procuring 
depots. 22 This provided for seven branches: 
buying and production, cost and price analysis, 
legal, government-furnished materials, inspec- 

tion, contract termination, and procurement 
services. It was anticipated that the reorganiza- 
tion would define executive responsibility, 
reduce paperwork, improve the planning and 
scheduling of procurement activity, and clarify 
the relations of depot legal and fiscal divisions 
to the new procurement set-up. 23 

These organizational developments, the 
expansion of Quartermaster procurement, and 
the changes in procedures emphasized the need 
for a new kind of personnel in buying opera- 
tions. The QMC had a nucleus of Regular 
Army and Reserve officers trained for wartime 
procurement duties. With the advent of the 
emergency, outstanding experts in the indus- 
trial field were commissioned from civil life to 
assist in the supervision and direction of the 
Quartermaster war procurement program. 
Numerous civilian specialists were added to the 
staffs of the OQMG and its central procuring 
depots as procurement specialists, market spe- 
cialists, and expert consultants. Accustomed to 
a faster tempo than that found in government 
organization prior to the war, these new Army 
buyers contributed to the stepping up of oper- 
ations in the Corps. 

Expansion of Centralized Procurement 

Preceding and accompanying efforts to organ- 
ize the OQMG and the field procuring depots 
along functional lines were the steps taken by 
the QMC to strengthen and expand its cen- 
tralized procurement system to meet emergency 

19 Chief of Purch & Contract Br to Chief of Ping & 
Control Div, OQMG, 5 Jan 42, sub: Steps in Procure- 
ment Opns. 

20 OQMG OO 84, 31 Mar 42, sub: Reasgmt of 
QMC Functions. 

21 See Ch. I, above. 

22 Ltr, Col H. A. Barnes, OQMG, to all QM 
Fid Installations, 6 Mar 43, sub: Elimination of 
Organizational Duplications, Overlappings, and Con- 
flicts, 321.5. 

23 Yoshpe and Massen, Procurement Policies and Pro- 
cedures, pp. 53-57. 



and war needs. Such developments were espe- 
cially apparent in the purchase of subsistence 
and of fuels and lubricants. Confronted by the 
needs of a rapidly expanding Army in 1940, the 
OQMG found its decentralized and localized 
system of purchasing perishables inadequate. In 
its place was substituted a market center system 
in the spring of 1941, which combined co- 
ordinated and centralized control at Field Head- 
quarters, Chicago, with field operations central- 
ized in a number of market centers. 24 

Similarly, to overcome the interdepot com- 
petition and unwholesome effects upon the 
civilian market of the prewar system of regional- 
depot procurement of nonperishables from 
wholesale grocers and distributors, the OQMG 
centralized procurement and made purchases 
directly from producers before and during the 
producing season. Three depots — Chicago, New 
York (later Jersey City), and San Francisco 
(later designated California)— were made 
responsible for the centralized purchase in large 
lots of most of the nonperishable foods, includ- 
ing dried, dehydrated, and canned foods. Dis- 
tribution was effected either directly to the posts 
or through the various distributing depots. The 
Chicago Depot became the chief procurement 
agency of the war for nonperishables, procuring 
approximately 7 subsistence items by the end 
of 1942. The Jersey City Depot procured about 
44 items and the California Depot 23. 25 

The need for centralizing the purchase of 
petroleum products was apparent early and 
became acute in the face of growing shortages 
and the necessity to ration supplies. Under the 
uncontrolled and un-co-ordinated decentralized 
procurement system which had prevailed in the 
Army ever since World War I, all of the supply 
services, commanding generals of armies on 
maneuvers, and, after December 1941, practi- 
cally all of the pons of embarkation were 
individually directing the purchase of petro- 
leum products in which they were interested. 
Centralization of purchase evolved slowly. It 

was not until June 1943 that procurement con- 
trol of petroleum products for the Army, 
excluding those for aircraft, was centralized in 
the Fuels and Lubricants Division, OQMG, 
with field operations centralized in a number of 
specified depots. 26 

Some measure of co-ordination had been 
achieved in prewar days through interdepart- 
mental procurement of petroleum products by 
the Treasury and Navy Departments. The bulk 
of the Army's petroleum requirements for the 
zone of interior continued to be supplied under 
Treasury Department contracts during World 
War II, but control was centralized by channel- 
ing such requirements through the Fuels and 
Lubricants Division. The latter was able to 
obtain exemption from such contracts for 
lubricating oils, but was only partially success- 
ful in reference to greases and gear lubricants. 
Direct purchase of these items was made by key 
procuring depots acting upon the division's 
instructions. Purchases of petroleum products 
for maneuvers and overseas shipment were 
exempt from Treasury Procurement Schedules. 
The Jersey City Depot handled the bulk of gas- 
oline requirements for the east coast while the 
Washington Depot procured most of the lubri- 
cants and greases required for offshore ship- 
ment. On the Pacific coast the bulk of petro- 
leum requirements was handled by the Cali- 
fornia and Seattle Depots. The purchase of con- 
tainers and petroleum equipment was accom- 
plished centrally by the Jefferson ville Depot at 
the direction of the Fuels and Lubricants 
Division. 2 " 

A corollary of this policy of extending cen- 
tralized procurement was the trend toward 
reducing local purchasing by posts, camps, and 
stations. The purpose was not only to avoid 

24 See Ch. I, above. 

25 OQMG Cir Ltr 399, 30 Oct 42, sub: Pro- 
curement, S&D of Nonperishable Subs Supplies. 

26 See Ch. I, above. 

2 ~ For a more detailed discussion see Risch, Fuels for 
Global Conflict, pp. 43-60. 



duplication of Army demand in the market but 
also to control the buying of scarce articles so 
as to disturb the civilian economy as little 
as possible. While local purchase of some non- 
perishable subsistence continued throughout 
the war, the operation of the market center 
program virtually eliminated local purchases of 
fresh foods within the zone of interior. Soon 
after Pearl Harbor the OQMG also found that 
general supplies could not be procured satis- 
factorily on a local basis. By the end of 
1942 centralization of procurement of various 
general supplies had been effected. Thus the 
purchase of paper and paper products became 
the responsibility of the Jersey City Depot 
while requirements for rope and noncotton type 
cordage were assigned for purchase to the Jef- 
fersonville Depot. 28 

Although the policy of reducing local pur- 
chases was followed by the QMC, neither the 
results achieved by it nor those attained by the 
other technical services were deemed satis- 
factory by Headquarters, ASF, which urged a 
material reduction in the "excessive" number of 
small orders being placed. The Quartermaster 
General took steps to centralize procurement 
of other supplies and gave the regional depots 
much closer control over local purchases by 
posts, camps, and stations. 29 By May 1944 the 
bulk of QMC purchases was being procured by 
central procuring depots and by the market 

In the assignment of items to central procure- 
ment depots consideration had to be given to 
the proximity of depots to sources of supply 
and the desirability of centralizing the purchase 
of closely related items within a particular 
depot. Before the emergency, however, these 
objectives had not been fully realized. Sub- 
sequently, with a view to preventing the over- 
loading of any one depot, the OQMG made 
some changes in the assignment of items for 
centralized procurement. For example, since the 
Chicago Quartermaster Depot already bought 

beds and cots, it was logical to transfer mat- 
tresses and mattress covers to it, thereby reliev- 
ing Philadelphia of the burden. Similar action 
was taken in regard to other items to spread the 
purchase load. 

With the greatly extended purchasing activi- 
ties of the Corps during the emergency and war 
periods, the OQMG made changes in the desig- 
nation of supply points and activated numerous 
additional depots. Where 8 principal purchas- 
ing depots had existed in 1939, after expansion 
the procurement organization included 17 
depots — 11 major and 6 minor depots — apart 
from the network of market centers and field 
buying offices for perishable subsistence. 30 

Experimentation with Decentralized 
Procurement Operations 

Although centralized procurement was the 
heart of the QMC supply organization, persist- 
ent pressures in the summer of 1942 from higher 
authority, Congress, and business groups led to 
an experiment to decentralize procurement oper- 
ations from the central procuring depots to other 
sections of the country. Decentralized purchas- 
ing would permit a wider distribution of orders, 
an objective stimulated by the passage of the 
Small Business Act in June. It was anticipated 
that a geographic distribution of procurement 

28 (1) Ltr, Col F. C. Harding, OQMG, to CO's of 
all depots, 5 Nov 42, sub: Local Purch of Gen Sup- 
plies Items, 400.13- (2) Ltr, Capt D. L. Lawton, 
OQMG, to CG JQMD, 3 Dec 42, sub: Designation 
of JQMD for Procurement of Rope and Cordage. (3) 
Ltr, Col Roy C. Moore, OQMG, to Hq SOS, 7 Dec 

42, sub: Centralization of Paper and Paper Products. 
» (l) Memo, TAG for Chiefs of Tech Svs, 22 Aug 

43, sub: Procurement Procedures and Small Orders, 
400.12. (2) OQMG Cir Ltr 129, 26 Aug 43, 
sub: Restricted Purch and Distr. (3) Memo, Gen 
Corbin, OQMG, for Purchases Div, ASF, 28 Sep 43, 
sub: Corrective Action in Connection with Small Pur- 
chases, 400.13. 

30 ( 1 ) See OQMG Cir 1-4, 1 Mar 39, sub: Procure- 
ment and Distr of Supplies. (2) WD SB 38-3-QM, 
19 Oct 44. 



would promote speed and economy in the 
servicing of contracts by bringing about closer 
contact with manufacturing sources and WPB 
field offices, by avoiding long hauls and un- 
necessary expense in distributing items from 
plants to storage depots, by facilitating the work 
of surveying plants, inspecting goods, investi- 
gating contract delinquency, and by assisting in 
the elimination of production bottlenecks. 31 

By way of experiment a portion of Quarter- 
master requirements for clothing items was 
allocated to the Seattle and California Depots 
for their procurement from manufacturers on 
the Pacific coast. Since in some instances similar 
items were procured both centrally and region- 
ally, the spheres of operation of the central and 
regional depots were clearly defined to elimi- 
nate any confusion in the soliciting of bids. 32 
A branch procurement office representing a 
number of the central procuring depots was 
established in New York City to enable the 
Corps to award more contracts in that distressed 
area. 33 This trend toward decentralization culmi- 
nated in the fall of 1942 in the establishment of 
fifteen procurement districts, the boundaries of 
each of which corresponded to the distributing 
area of its depot. Each district was to act as an 
agent in the negotiation and servicing of con- 
tracts. Unlike other supply services which had 
completely decentralized their purchasing to 
procurement districts, this effort was a "com- 
bination set up," designed to permit centralized 
buying by commodity, yet at the same time 
establish a nationwide organization permitting 
closer contact with the local manufacturing 
situation throughout the country. 34 

This decentralization of procurement responsi- 
bilities was viewed with hostility by the major 
central procuring depots that felt their tradi- 
tional contractual prerogatives threatened. The 
plan did not work smoothly and was not in- 
voked to any appreciable extent despite the 
belief of the OQMG that its advantages out- 
weighed its disadvantages. The depots re- 

mained unco-operative. The problem of con- 
tract administration was settled by the creation 
of a zone inspection system late in 1943, 35 but 
responsibility for letting of contracts remained 
largely with the central procuring depots. The 
opponents of decentralization were favored by 
the complexities of war procurement. The im- 
pact of tight market conditions, material alloca- 
tions, and labor shortages required a centralized 
control. As a consequence, the experiment with 
decentralization ended after about a year in a 
renewed emphasis upon centralized procure- 

Streamlining Procurement Methods 

When World War II began in Europe, the 
peacetime procurement machinery of the QMC 
was simply expanded and adjusted to meet the 
increased load imposed by the events of the 
emergency period. The basic War Department 
policies and procedures in procurement, how- 
ever, were materially though slowly altered 
during the war. Procurement procedures in the 
Corps, as in all supply services, were based on 
the legislation enacted to promote national 
defense, directives of the superdefense agencies, 
such as the Advisory Commission to the 
Council of National Defense and particularly 
the OPM and its successor, the WPB, and on 

51 ( 1) Ltr, Gen Corbin, OQMG, to Brig Gen W. A. 
McCain, PQMD, 9 Jun 42, no sub. (2) Ltr, Corbin to 
CG JQMD, 12 Aug 42, sub: Procurement Policy. 

32 (1) Ltr, Corbin to CG PQMD, 29 May 42, sub: 
Allocation of Procurements to Seattle General Depot. 
(2) Ltr, Corbin to CO Seattle General Depot, 29 May 

42, sub: Allocation of Certain Items of Clothing. Both 
in 421. 

"(1) Ltr, Corbin to CO PQMD, 21 Jul 42, 
sub: Branch Office in NYC. (2) 1st ind, Col T. W. 
Jones, PQMD, to TQMG, 29 Jul 42, on same. 

34 (1) OQMG Cir Ltr 409, 14 Nov 42, sub: QM 
Procurement Districts, and Supplement 1, 3 Dec 42. 
(2) Memo, Col Barnes, OQMG, for CG SOS, 8 Feb 

43, sub: Rpt of Survey on Red Tape in Army 

35 See below, Ch. VIII. 



the various regulations— procurement circulars, 
Army Regulations, and Procurement Regula- 
tions—issued by the War Department to imple- 
ment these directives. Specific provisions of the 
Procurement Regulations, which by the sum- 
mer of 1942 had superseded all earlier War 
Department instructions in this field, were 
interpreted or extended by the OQMG in a 
"Supplement" intended for use of personnel 
procuring Quartermaster supplies. 

Abandonment of Formal Advertising 

Although by December 1941 Congress had 
enacted a variety of laws designed to remove 
obstacles to the speedy placement and execu- 
tion of contracts and had in particular freed 
Army procurement in July 1940 by authorizing 
the Secretary of War to enter into contracts 
"with or without advertising," 36 Quartermaster 
contracting officers, in common with all other 
contracting officers of the War Department, 
continued to follow the long-familiar method 
of soliciting formal bids in the purchase of sup- 
plies until after the attack on Pearl Harbor. 
Then speed in placing contracts and obtaining 
deliveries became of prime importance, and the 
chiefs of the supply services were urged to put 
Army procurement "into the highest gear at 
once." 37 

During the emergency period, however, there 
was, in practice, little deviation from the prin- 
ciple of awarding contracts on the basis of 
formal and informal advertising. Even when 
Quartermaster contracting officers negotiated a 
contract, the principle of competition was 
deemed essential to the government's interest. 
They were required to solicit quotations from 
responsible suppliers of the articles in question, 
and awards were made to the lowest bidder 
meeting the terms of the invitation. The fact 
that it was the general practice to invite bids of 
all known interested manufacturers gave the 

procedure close resemblance to formal advertis- 
ing, the only substantial difference being that 
informal bids were not opened publicly. 38 Thus, 
even when contracts were negotiated, the meth- 
ods used were much the same and consumed 
the same amount of time as the old formal 
advertising method. Severe limitations imposed 
on The Quartermaster General by higher 
authority and the several superagencies resulted 
in a natural reluctance to delegate much pur- 
chase responsibility to the field. Many inter- 
office restrictions were imposed to prevent 
abuse of the novel process of negotiating con- 
tracts. 39 In particular the Procurement Control 
Branch closely supervised the operating divi- 
sions and procuring depots to maintain safe- 
guards against any charges of favoritism, col- 
lusion, or improper awards in the procurement 
of items by negotiation. 

Nevertheless, even before Pearl Harbor, a 
widened use of negotiated contracts was stimu- 
lated by the efforts to aid small business 
concerns by a wide dispersion of defense orders. 
Unlike the period of formal competitive bid- 
ding when the small businessman saw slight 
prospect of competing successfully with large 
firms, the authorization of procurement with- 
out advertising permitted the procurement 
officer to exercise discretion in the award of con- 
tracts and enabled him to place contracts with 
small plants in order to increase production 
capacity. More than any other supply service 
the QMC, because of the commercial character 
of many of its items, felt the impact of the pres- 
sure to spread contracts among small plants and 

56 (1) 54 U. S. Statutes 712, 2 Jul 40. (2) Memo, 
Dir of Current Procurement, OASW, for TQMG et a I., 
2 Jul 40, sub: Procurement Without Advertising, 

37 Memo, Robert P. Patterson, USW, for Chiefs of 
Sup Arms and Svs, 8 Dec 41, no sub. 

38 Col Guy I. Rowe, Chief of Ping & Control Div, 
to TQMG, 27 May 41, sub: Negotiating Contracts 
with Best Qualified Manufacturers, 161. 

39 For elaboration of these controls see Yoshpe and 
Massen, Procurement Policies and Procedures, pp. 60-66. 



in labor-surplus areas throughout the country. 40 
Interest in negotiation was further stimulated 
by the needs of an expanding Army and lend- 
lease requirements which increasingly taxed 
production facilities. 

The real stimulus, however, for a more 
streamlined purchasing system came soon after 
Pearl Harbor. Under authority of the First War 
Powers Act, approved 18 December 1941, and 
the Executive Order of 27 December, vesting 
broad procurement powers in the Secretary of 
War, substantially all legal restrictions on Army 
buying were suspended except those provided 
in certain labor laws and limitations on 
profits. 41 The War Department was permitted 
to negotiate contracts in much the same way 
that ordinary commercial transactions were 

The Under Secretary of War in the meantime 
advised the chiefs of the supply arms and 
services that awards of defense contracts entered 
into without advertising required his approval 
only when they amounted to $5,000,000 or 
more. Contract awards and changes required 
clearance by the OPM when they amounted to 
$1,000,000 or more. To expedite the war effort 
the actual work of procurement was to be 
deputized to the field as far as consistent with 
efficiency and the public interest. 42 

The WPB promptly swept away the formal 
advertising method when it replaced the OPM 
on 16 January 1942. All supply contracts relat- 
ing to war procurement were to be placed by 
negotiation, but, "when consistent with the 
required speed of war procurement," notifica- 
tion of the proposed purchase was to be given 
to "qualified possible contractors and quota- 
tions secured from them." Special factors were 
to be considered in negotiating contracts. Con- 
tracts were to be placed so that difficult produc- 
tion problems were handled by those facilities 
whose resources were best suited to the task, 
while items of simple production were to be 
placed with smaller concerns. Contracts also 

were to be negotiated with firms "needing to 
acquire the least amounts of additional machin- 
ery and equipment for performance of the con- 
tracts." 43 The use of formal advertising was to 
be permitted only upon specific authorization 
of the Director of Purchases, WPB, or such 
persons as he might designate. 

In accordance with the directive of the Under 
Secretary of War, The Quartermaster General 
took steps to put the program into effect. He 
advised field purchasing officers that they could 
negotiate contracts up to $50,000 by soliciting 
as many bids as was practicable and making 
awards to the lowest bidders without reference 
to higher authority. Unless otherwise directed, 
the procuring depots could negotiate purchases 
without regard to the amount by securing bids 
on the "QMC Form of Request for Informal 
Bids (Negotiated Contracts)" from all known 
prospective bidders. No individual award or 
change in contract amounting to $1,000,000 or 
more was to be made without submitting the 
proposal to the OQMG for the approval of 
higher authority. 44 

When the WPB directive was sent to the 
field, negotiation of all contracts became a 
"must." Awards were made after negotiation on 
the basis of quotations solicited and received 
from a number of responsible and qualified sup- 
pliers by telephone, telegraph, or letter, or in 
response to request for informal bids. Such 
factors of sound procedure as speed in procure- 
ment, price, plant facilities, compliance with 

40 For a detailed discussion of the early contract dis- 
tribution program, see Harry B. Yoshpe, The Small 
Business Man and Quartermaster Contracts, 1940-42 
(QMC Historical Studies 2, April 1943), passim. 

41 (1) 55 U. S. Statutes 838. (2) 9001, 6 
Federal Register 6787. 

42 (1) OUSW P&C General Directive 81, 17 Dec 
41, sub: Decentralization of Procurement. (2) Ibid., 
87, 17 Dec 41, sub: Procurement Without Advertising. 

43 WPB Directive 2, 3 Mar 42, no sub. 

44 ( 1 ) TQMG to Chief of Sup Div, OQMG, 19 
Dec 41, sub: Decentralization of Procurement, 400.13. 
(2) OQMG Cir Ltr 336, 19 Dec 41, sub: Procure- 
ment Without Advertising. 



specifications, financial responsibility, and 
dependability of management continued to be 
considered by contracting officers. 45 Since clear- 
ance of contract awards by the Director of Pur- 
chases, WPB, was no longer required, no mat- 
ter what the amount, the full power of The 
Quartermaster General to make awards or 
changes in contracts without regard to higher 
authority (i. e., up to $5,000,000) was delegated 
to field procurement offices. 

Six months after the United States had 
entered the war, the responsibility of the 
Procurement Division and other purchasing 
divisions in the OQMG had become primarily 
directive and supervisory. They directed the cen- 
tral depot procurement officers to purchase, and 
advised on delivery schedules. Essentially their 
task was to see that the depot procurement 
officers took timely and suitable action, 
although there might be instances in which 
they selected a specific plant and directed a par- 
ticular award. 

Delegation of Broader Responsibility 

During the emergency period controls exer- 
cised by higher authority and the superdefense 
agencies had the effect of throttling what little 
initiative contracting officers might have en- 
joyed. Desirable as their objectives might have 
been, these controls seriously delayed the execu- 
tion of contracts. The Office of the Assistant 
Secretary of War had to approve all contracts of 
$500,000 or more and all deviations, however 
insignificant, from standard contract forms and 
clauses. Not until after Pearl Harbor were these 
checks loosened or eliminated. Then broader re- 
sponsibility was delegated to field installations, 
such as the right to negotiate contracts of in- 
creasing value— eventually up to $5,000,000— 
without the necessity of obtaining clearance 
from the OQMG in the case of the Corps. To 
facilitate procurement the War Department ex- 
tended the authority of contracting officers in 

various ways. Thus, two weeks after Pearl Har- 
bor, the Under Secretary of War authorized the 
chiefs of the supply arms and services to make 
"minor deviations" from the language of stand- 
ard and approved contract forms and clauses. 
Any "material change" in contract provisions or 
policies, however, still had to be approved by 
his office. The chiefs of the supply arms and 
services were authorized to delegate this power 
to their contracting officers. 46 

Distinguishing between minor and material 
changes, however, posed difficulties. Situations 
were constantly arising in the QMC necessitat- 
ing deviations from standard contract forms and 
the drafting of substitute clauses to reflect more 
precisely the rights and liabilities of the con- 
tracting parties. Among the major deviations 
from standard contract provisions which the 
OQMG was being called upon to make were 
escalator clauses providing for price adjustment 
on the basis of changes in ceiling prices set up 
by the OPA; a clause protecting the contractor 
with respect to wage increases "resulting from 
an increase in zone standard wage rates"; a 
clause protecting a contractor "in regard to in- 
creased labor or material costs due to the forced 
migration of Japanese labor"; and a contract 
designating a private corporation as an agent of 
the United States "for the performance of war 
work in a foreign country." 47 It was suggested 
that the government's interest would be better 
served by permitting deviations "in exceptional 
cases" subject to the approval of The Quarter- 
master General. 48 

To meet these and other contingencies arising 
out of the expanding and increasingly complex 

45 (1) OQMG Cir Ltr 114, 17 Mar 42, sub: Pro- 
curement Without Advertising. (2) OQMG Cir Ltr 
175, 27 Apr 42, sub: Negotiated Purchases. 

46 OUSW, P&C Gen Directive 93, 23 Dec 41, sub: 
Deviations from Approved Contract Forms or Clauses, 

47 Memo, TQMG for Deputy Dir of Procurement & 
Distr Div, SOS, 7 Apr 42, no sub, 310. 

48 Memo, TQMG for CG SOS, 9 Mar 42, no sub. 



procurement program, Headquarters, SOS, ap- 
proved for general use by all the supply services 
many new contract forms and clauses. In addi- 
tion, it approved the general use by a particular 
supply service of contract forms devised by it to 
meet the needs of "a recurrent situation of a 
special type," provided these complied with the 
appropriate contract provisions. The supply 
services were authorized to make such contracts 
without further approval by higher authority. 
They could also make other contracts without 
approval if these embodied applicable contract 
clauses and contained no provision or policy 
matter, such as important or doubtful legal is- 
sues or decisions involving uniformity among 
the supply services, which, in the opinion of the 
supply service, should be passed upon by higher 
authority. 49 

Effecting amendment of contracts through 
change orders and supplemental agreements 50 
with the least possible delay also contributed to 
expediting the procurement program. Early in 
the emergency, however, Quartermaster con- 
tracting officers could make changes without 
prior approval of The Quartermaster General 
only if they involved $500 or less. Regulations 
provided for modification of a contract by sup- 
plemental agreement only when it was "for the 
benefit of the United States" or "when a new 
valuable consideration" passed to the govern- 
ment. Any effort to correct mutual mistakes in 
contracts by supplemental agreement was de- 
pendent upon the presentation to the General 
Accounting Office of "the most convincing 
evidence" as to the intent of the contracting 
parties. 51 

As the procurement program expanded, such 
restrictions imposed by higher authority had to 
be relaxed. In the fall of 1941 the Secretary of 
War designated The Quartermaster General 
and certain officers of the OQMG as his repre- 
sentatives for the purpose of approving changes 
in standard supply contracts which did not ex- 
ceed $100,000. After Pearl Harbor this sum was 

increased to $5,000,000, and The Quartermaster 
General was authorized to delegate this author- 
ity under such safeguards as he saw fit to 
impose. 52 

Since The Quartermaster General could not 
approve personally the large number of change 
orders and supplemental agreements that it was 
anticipated would flood his office, he took steps 
to deputize this responsibility. He authorized 
certain division chiefs— Supply, Motor Trans- 
port, Transportation, Memorial, and Planning 
and Control— to give approval in cases involv- 
ing an increase in contract price of no more 
than $1,000,000. Branch chiefs of these divisions 
could act on amounts up to $100,000. Subject 
to instructions from the OQMG, commanding 
officers of Quartermaster depots and quarter- 
master supply officers of general depots also 
were authorized to handle cases involving the 
same amount of money. Instructions limited 
the authority to approve change orders and sup- 
plemental agreements involving not more than 
$100,000 to the five main procuring depots, 
while all other purchasing depots were granted 
this authority up to $50,000. By April 1942, in 
line with the policy to decentralize procurement 
responsibility as much as possible, the full 
authority of The Quartermaster General to 
award contracts or execute changes had been 

49 WD PR 3 (9-5-42), par. 304.3, and (11-12- 
42), pars. 306.1 and 306.2. 

50 Change orders and supplemental agreements were 
instruments by which original contracts could be al- 
tered to fit conditions arising after they had been 
signed. Change orders required only the signature of 
the contracting officer because the right to make the 
change was reserved to the government in the original 
contract. Supplemental agreements were not so author- 
ized and therefore, like an original contract, required 
acceptance and consent of the contractor. 

51 AR 5-200, pars. 19a, 20d (4), 2 Jan 40, sub: 
ASW: Procurement of Supplies; Contracts, Formal and 

52 (1) OUSW P&C Gen Directive 18, 17 Dec 41, 
sub: Decentralization of Procurement. (2) WD Pro- 
curement Cir 91, 29 Dec 41, no sub. (3) OQMG GO 
6, 6 Jan 42, sub: Designation of Representatives to 
Approve Changes in Sup Contracts for SW. 



delegated to all the field agencies under his 
control. 53 

In recognition of the need for speed in the 
correction of errors which were unavoidable 
under the extensive wartime procurement pro- 
gram, procurement regulations later granted 
authority to the chiefs of supply services, under 
certain circumstances, to correct mistakes by 
supplemental agreement. The Quartermaster 
General delegated this authority to the Direc- 
tor, Procurement Division, OQMG. 54 

Removal of Restrictive Controls 
and Regulations 

Various federal and state laws also hampered 
the freedom of the Corps to purchase items. 
Chief among the federal laws were those relat- 
ing to the purchase of foreign-manufactured 
goods, the mandatory procurement of certain 
items from the Federal Prison Industries, Inc., 
and the Committee on Purchases of Blind-Made 
Products, and the purchase of other items 
through the Treasury Department. At both the 
federal and state level various tax and price-fix- 
ing laws interfered with effective procurement. 
Although these legislative controls were not 
completely removed during the war, certain re- 
laxations did take place. 

Under the "Buy American" Act of 1933, the 
Corps was required to purchase supplies of 
domestic production only, unless the Secretary 
of War determined that it was inconsistent with 
the public interest, or considered the cost un- 
reasonable." The defense program soon caused 
the Under Secretary of War to issue certificates 
of determination making the provisions of the 
act inapplicable during the emergency for the 
purchase of items from foreign suppliers and es- 
sential materials that could not be produced in 
the United States. 56 

In the interest of hemispheric solidarity spe- 
cial consideration came to be given to articles 
produced in the western hemisphere. Such pur- 

chases, of course, had to be limited to hides, 
wool, nitrates, manganese, tin, and other items 
listed in the Under Secretary of War's certifi- 
cates of determination. When, for example, a 
Chilean shoe manufacturer wanted an oppor- 
tunity to bid on Army shoe requirements, the 
OQMG advised him that it would be contrary 
to the Buy American Act. Similarly, when an 
effort was made to allow Argentine corned beef 
hash to compete with domestic products, the 
Subsistence Branch was advised that no author- 
ity existed for purchasing this item in Argen- 
tina or any other foreign country. If the price 
difference was great enough to justify a request 
for purchase authority, the essential facts and 
recommendations were to be furnished to the 
Under Secretary of War. 57 

After Pearl Harbor, on the recommendation 
of the Joint War Production Committee of 
Canada and the United States, such restrictions 
were eliminated insofar as Canada was con- 
cerned. In line with the new policy announced 
by the Office of the Under Secretary of War, 
The Quartermaster General advised his pro- 
curement officers that purchases of Canadian 
products were to be on "an equal basis" with 

53 ( 1 ) Chief of Ping & Control Div, OQMG, to 
TQMG, 31 Jan 42, sub: Delegation of Authority to 
Approve Change Orders and Supplemental Agree- 
ments, 161. (2) OQMG OO 29, 3 Feb 42, same sub. 
(3) OQMG Cir Ltr 175, 27 Apr 42, sub: Negotiated 

54 (1) OQMG OO 30-16, 13 Mar 43, sub: Dele- 
gation of Authority to Correct Mistakes in Contracts. 
(2) WD PR 3 (3-26-43), par. 308-B. . 

55 47 U. S. Statutes 1520. The law did not apply to 
items used outside the United States or to articles or 
the materials for their manufacture which could not 
be supplied in the United States "in sufficient and 
reasonably available commercial quantities and of a 
satisfactory quality." 

56 OUSW Memos, 18 Apr and 24 Jul 41, sub: De- 
termination Under Buy American Act. 

57 (1) Ltr, Lt Col H. B. Hester, Chief of Production 
Control Br, OQMG, to G. Klammer, Latin American 
Commercial Office, 19 Mar 41, no sub. (2) Lt Col O. 
E. Cound, Production Control Br, to Subs Br, Sup 
Div, OQMG, 3 Nov 41, sub: Purch of Corned Beef 



and subject to the same restrictions as purchases 
of articles of domestic origin. 58 The Quarter- 
master General urged, however, that action be 
taken to permit the purchase of materials pro- 
duced in the western hemisphere "without re- 
gard to the country of origin." By March 1942 
the Under Secretary of War issued a certificate 
of determination freeing war purchases of all 
supplies, except food and clothing not hereto- 
fore specifically exempted, from the restrictions 
imposed by the Buy American Act. 59 

The necessity of obtaining special clear- 
ances—frequently in each individual case — from 
the Federal Prison Industries, Inc., and the 
Committee on Purchases of Blind-Made Prod- 
ucts before certain of their items could be pur- 
chased from commercial sources hampered ex- 
peditious procurement. Even when clearances 
were issued the administrative procedures were 
time consuming. Each clearance had to be pub- 
lished in a circular letter, and all posts, camps, 
and stations had to keep their files up-to-date 
and cite a clearance on every purchase order 
placed outside the schedules. 60 

While the OQMG held that Executive 
Order 9001, 27 December 1941, afforded ample 
legal authority to enter into contracts without 
regard for limiting legislation, Headquarters, 
SOS, thought it more expedient to evolve a 
workable plan that would not cut off these 
agencies from furnishing such items of their 
manufacture as the War Department used. 61 
Except for the automatic clearance granted for 
purchases requiring delivery within two weeks, 
no new arrangements seem to have been 
worked out with the Committee on Purchases 
of Blind-Made Products. The Federal Prison In- 
dustries, Inc., continued to grant periodic clear- 
ances, but blanket clearances were granted for 
commercial procurement of any articles in cases 
where cost-plus-a-fixed-fee construction or sup- 
ply contracts were used; when certain govern- 
ment-furnished materials were used in the exe- 
cution of lump-sum contracts; when the public 

exigency required immediate delivery or per- 
formance; or when second-hand or used articles 
could be procured. 62 

Throughout the war the QMC continued to 
purchase many items under the General Sched- 
ule of Supplies of the Treasury Department. 
Where limitations on quantities, for example, 
might compel a contracting officer to procure 
outside the schedule, each such action had to be 
justified to insure payment. Obtaining the nec- 
essary clearance was too time consuming during 
an emergency or war period. Under the acceler- 
ated purchasing program many instances arose 
of purchases inadvertently made outside the 
schedule. A major bottleneck was removed 
when the Procurement Division of the Treasury 
Department approved an amendment to the 
War Department Procurement Regulations 
authorizing the chief of the supply service con- 
cerned to ratify such purchases when it appeared 
that the oversight represented "an isolated in- 
stance and not a continued course of neglect." 6} 
This ratification greatly expedited payments for 

58 (1) OUSW P&C Gen Directive 94, 27 Dec 41, 
sub: War Production Policy for Canada and US. (2) 
OQMG Cir Ltr 127, Supplement 1, 7 Aug 42, sub: 
Buy American Act. 

" ( 1 ) Memo, TQMG for CG SOS, 9 Mar 42, no 
sub. (2) Hq SOS Gen Directive 30, 16 Mar 42, sub: 
Buy American Act. (3) WD PR 5 (9-5-42), par. 

60 ( 1 ) Memo, Col Cound, OQMG, for Col H. Feld- 
man, SOS, 11 Mar 42, sub: Reqmts of Higher Author- 
ity Hindering Procurement, 310. (2) Memo, Col 
Cound for Gen Corbin, OQMG, 24 Mar 42, sub: Ltr 
to CG SOS, 9 Mar 42. 

61 (1) Col Cound, Production Control Br, to Chief 
of Sup Div, OQMG, 22 Jan 42, sub: Clearance from 
Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (2) Memo, Hq SOS, 
14 Apr 42, sub: Expediting the Administration of Pro- 

62 OQMG Cir Ltr 280, 10 Jul 42, sub: Clearance for 
Items Manufactured by Federal Prison Industries, Inc. 
(2) OQMG Cir Ltr 9, 14 Jan 43, sub: Purchases from 
Federal Prison Industries, Inc. 

6J (1) AGO Memo S5-31-43, 8 Feb 43, sub: In- 
advertent Purchases Outside the Gen Schedule of Sup- 
plies. (2) WD PR 6 (2-19-43), par. 606.5. (3) 
OQMG 30-15, 6 Mar 43, sub: Ratification by Dir of 



such purchases since it eliminated the need for 
handling them as claims. 

Tax laws, both federal and state, as well as a 
variety of state regulations, hampered effective 
procurement. The policy of the War Depart- 
ment with respect to federal excise taxes 
changed materially during the war. Prior to the 
war it was accepted War Department policy to 
purchase free of tax. The contractor had the 
right under the tax law to receive from the con- 
tracting activity a certificate of exemption, ap- 
proved by the Treasury Department, exempting 
the transaction from the federal tax. 64 This pol- 
icy was based on the idea of budgetary savings 
which would result from cutting down the 
amount the military services would expend 
from their own appropriations. If the contrac- 
tor paid the tax he would pass it along to the 
services in an increased contract price. 

The use of tax exemption certificates was 
continued during the opening years of World 
War II. 65 It was a cumbersome procedure, how- 
ever, necessitating records from both contrac- 
tors and contracting officers. As the volume of 
war procurement mounted, the desirability of 
eliminating exemptions was underscored. This 
elimination would cost the government nothing 
but would save a considerable amount of paper 
work and manpower expended in issuing tax 
exemption certificates. Early in 1943 the War 
and Navy Departments adopted a new policy 
on the payment of, and the exemption from, 
federal excise taxes. The Under Secretary of War 
and the Under Secretary of the Navy issued a 
memorandum making this policy effective on 1 
March 1943. 66 The policy was limited in that it 
provided for the elimination of exemptions 
only with respect to various subsidiary articles 
or components used in the performance of a 
prime contract but continued the use of exemp- 
tions for final finished products. On 25 Febru- 
ary 1944 Congress passed the Revenue Act of 
1943 over a presidential veto. It abolished the 
former exemption on sales to the federal gov- 

ernment for everything except radio and radio 
products and on the purchase of a certain lim- 
ited number of items which in the opinion of 
the Secretary of the Treasury could be handled 
most economically on a tax-exemption basis. 
Thereafter all purchases were made on a tax-in- 
clusive basis. 67 The passage of this act largely 
eliminated the work load connected with the 
administration of the tax clause used in Army 

State and local tax laws were not uniform in 
their application but as a general rule govern- 
ment purchases were exempt from such taxes. 
There were, however, various other state regu- 
lations which hampered Quartermaster procure- 
ment. These included labor laws, particularly 
those which limited hours of work and regu- 
lated female employment; transportation reg- 
ulations pertaining to maximum truck loads 
and licensing of trucks; and egg and milk 
marketing laws, designed to protect trade. 68 
Most of these difficulties were resolved by se- 
curing waivers through appeal to state boards 
and by administrative orders. 

Milk control legislation fixing prices under 
a state authority posed a problem not so readily 
resolved. Some nineteen states had such legis- 
lation which, by subjecting the Army to an ar- 
tificially controlled market, was disadvantageous 
to its procurement program. The fact that the 
state laws varied widely and prices were subject 
to change at any time made impossible the for- 
mulation of a central administrative policy on 
fluid-milk purchases. The Office of the Judge 
Advocate General, the legal officers of the Na- 

64 See, for example, AR 5-100, par. 7, 20 Jul 37, 
sub: ASW: Procurement of Supplies. 

65 7 Federal Register 579, Treasury Decision 5114, 27 
Jan 42. 

66 For this memorandum see PR 8 (2-19-43) par. 

67 See PR 8 (5-18-44), Appendix, par. 890ff. 

68 Ltrs, Col Cound, Chief of Purch & Contract Br, 
OQMG, to Stanley F. Teele, Special Asst to Deputy 
Dir of Procurement & Distr, SOS, 22, 23, 27 Apr 42, 
sub: State Laws Hampering War Production. 



tional Defense Advisory Commission, the De- 
partment of Justice, and the OQMG were 
agreed that the application of state milk mar- 
keting laws to purchases made by the Army was 
an unconstitutional interference with the oper- 
ations of the Army. 69 

Various means short of court action were 
used to secure price concessions early in the 
war. Nevertheless the problem remained trou- 
blesome. It was not until March 1943 that the 
Supreme Court, hearing appeals on cases in- 
volving the state laws of California and Penn- 
sylvania, rendered its decision. If the land on 
which the consuming Army camp was located 
belonged to the state, the price regulation was 
applicable; otherwise it was not. Congress 
might, of course, override these state milk laws 
if the national interest required such action. 70 

Developments in Contractual Procedures 

During World War I many undesirable situa- 
tions had developed as a result of the great dis- 
similarity in the contractual relations between 
the various producers and the government. 
These caused delay and created confusion in the 
letting and settlement of contracts. In order to 
avoid a repetition of that experience, procure- 
ment planners sought to evolve standardized 
contract forms which would be adaptable to war- 
time use. Their work resulted in the approval, 
shortly after the outbreak of World War II, 
of six war contract forms. These were intended 
for use in an emergency, but although the coun- 
try was already in a "limited" emergency and 
gradually drifted into a vigorous defense pro- 
gram, no authority for the use of these forms 
was granted by the War Department. 

The peacetime standard contract forms con- 
tinued to be used. As experience developed and 
purchasing shifted to a negotiated basis, special 
contract provisions and new forms were pro- 
mulgated as additional standard forms. Where 
conditions demanded, contracting officers were 

also authorized to draw contracts in a form to 
meet special circumstances. Such contracts were 
to include clauses from approved or standard 
forms or clauses that might have been specially 
approved by the Under Secretary of War for use 
when special circumstances required them. All 
such contracts had to be approved by the Under : 
Secretary of War. Although decentralization of 
authority to place contracts was vigorously pur- 
sued by the War Department, the Under Secre- 
tary of War was reluctant to decentralize author- 
ity to the various arms and services to promul- 
gate new contract forms or to deviate from 
standard contract clauses on their own respon- 
sibility. 71 

The first of the standard contract forms per- 
fected for defense supply purchases— War De- 
partment Supply Contract Form 1— was adopted 
in September 1941. 72 Thereafter during the war 
years many other standard forms and clauses 
were adopted and amended. By the end of the 
war some 22 standard contract forms approved 
for general use by the War Department and 
some 74 additional contract forms approved for 
use by particular technical services and the Air 
Forces were listed in the Procurement Regula- 
tions. 73 

Special Quartermaster standard contract forms 
grew out of practical experience. Some were in- 
tended for the purchase of coal and petroleum 
and oil supplies. One form was devised for stor- 
age contracts and another for a uniform burial 
contract. Some contracts were developed in a 

69 See, for example, ltr, Col Rowe, Chief of Ping & 
Control Div, OQMG, to JAG, 25 Feb 41, sub: State 
Milk Marketing Laws, and 1st ind, Col E. C. McNeil, 
Actg JAG, to TAG, 28 Mar 41, on same. 

70 ( 1 ) Penn Dairies, Inc., et al., vs. Milk Control Com- 
mission of Pennsylvania, 318 U.S. Reports 261. (2) 
Pacific Coast Inc., vs. Department of Agriculture of Cali- 
fornia et al., ibid., 285. 

71 Rpt, History of Purchases Division, ASF, n. d., p. 
312. Mimeographed copy on file at Hist Sec, OQMG. 

72 OQMG Cir Ltr 283, 22 Oct 41, sub: WD & Sup 
Contract Form 1. 

73 PR 3 (8-23-45), par. 304.1, and PR 13 (8-23- 



short form to expedite procurement by elimi- 
nating the tremendous amount of paper work 
and time involved in the use of existing forms. 
For example, the procurement of subsistence 
supplies in the open market emphasized the 
need for a simple, concise contract. To expedi- 
ate on-the-spot subsistence procurement the 
OQMG prepared an informal "Offer and Ac- 
ceptance," which, with slight amendments, was 
approved by the Under Secretary of War. Its 
use was authorized in the procurement of all 
supplies and services, except coal, whenever the 
issue of written invitations for bids or quota- 
tions was considered impracticable. 74 

The most popular short form of contract was 
QMC Form 308, a unilateral purchase order 
that had been used by the Corps before the war. 
Its provisions on the amount of the transaction 
and delivery time were liberalized. The form 
was commonly employed not only by the QMC 
but also by the Transportation Corps and the 
Chemical Warfare Service. Initially purchases 
were restricted to transactions of $5,000 or less, 
but the limit was increased to $500,000 by May 
1943. This form was used provided delivery or 
performance time did not exceed 180 days. By 
the fall of the year, because procurement was 
leveling off, the flexibility needed in the early 
phases of the war procurement program could 
give way to standardization, and this form was 
replaced by a standard purchase order form- 
War Department Contract Form 18. 75 

Various shortcuts in contracting were also de- 
vised to expedite purchases in the expanding 
procurement program and to speed up produc- 
tion. These included letters of intent or "letter 
contracts" and letter purchase orders. There was 
a slight difference between a letter of intent and 
a letter contract, although both conveyed the 
"intention" of the government to purchase. The 
letter of intent was a preliminary agreement 
which authorized a contractor to undertake 
preparatory measures and start production for 
intended purchase at once, with the assurance 

of indemnity for costs in the event a formal 
contract was never consummated. Letter con- 
tracts were preliminary contractual agreements 
customarily used in situations wherein the 
items, quantities, prices, and delivery dates were 
known but where the principal contract pro- 
visions required additional time consuming 
negotiations. 76 

Some contractors to whom letters of intent 
had been issued refused to proceed promptly to 
production, insisting instead on more attractive 
unit prices or escalator clauses. To overcome 
this difficulty a new form, "Letter Purchase 
Order," was approved by the Under Secretary 
of War on 10 January 1942. It could be used for 
the placing of orders in those instances where 
the need for the supplies was so urgent as to 
render impractical prior negotiations regarding 
prices, schedules of deliveries, or other terms, 
or where such negotiations had failed to result 
in an agreement. 77 

The OQMG initiated the use of letters of in- 
tent in the summer of 1940. On 1 July clothing 
and equipage stocks were entirely inadequate to 
meet the requirements of the expanding Army. 
The Quartermaster General had obligated under 
contract all available funds for the purpose, and 
the Munitions Bill had not yet passed Congress. 
Additional bids had been issued and opened, 
and he proposed to send out letters of intent to 
successful bidders informing them that when 
and if funds became available under the Muni- 
tions Bill, the contracting officer would enter 
into a contract with them at the bid price. Thus 
production could be started in anticipation of 

74 Memo, Col Cound, OQMG, for USW, 2 Feb 42, 
sub: Proposed Form of Informal Negotiated Contract, 
and 1st ind, OUSW to TQMG, 11 Feb 42, on same, 

75 History of Purchases Div, ASF, pp. 320-322. 

76 ( 1 ) TICAF, Glossary of Terms in Use at The In- 
dustrial College of the Armed Forces, 1946, pp. 18-19. 
(2) Report of The Secretary of War, 1941 (Washington, 
1941), p. 30. 

77 OUSW P&C Gen Directive 5, 13 Jan 42, sub: 
Form for Ltr Purch Order, 400.138. 



the contract, a procedure approved by the As- 
sistant Secretary of War. Since it took approxi- 
mately nine months to "convert dollars into ap- 
preciable quantities of clothing and equipage." 
troops were supplied during the first nine 
months of the fiscal year 1941 by initiating pro- 
curements on letters of intent prior to the avail- 
ability of funds. '- During the emergency period, 
letters of intent were also used to secure imme- 
diate production of certain bottleneck items, 
such as axles, joints, and transfer cases, "in antic- 
ipation of the award of contracts for motor 
vehicles." " 9 

As the character of the war procurement 
changed, letters of intent ceased to be used. Let- 
ter purchase orders continued to be employed 
for some time, but only when it was essential to 
give the contractor a binding commitment to 
permit of preparatory work without delay, or 
where it was impossible to negotiate a definitive 
contract because of the experimental nature of 
the work involved. The Corps used this form 
particularly in contracts for dehydrated vegeta- 
bles and for the purchase of frozen foods.- By 
1944 the use of these instruments of procure- 
ment had been discontinued except as author- 
ized by the Director of Procurement in specific 
exceptional cases. 81 

Elimination of Duplication in Purchase 

In the course of streamlining procedures, the 
War Department attacked the problem of co- 
ordinating and consolidating procurements of 
the supply arms and services more vigorously. 
Interbranch procurement to eliminate inter- 
agency- competition for similar items had been 
established in 1918, but the program had made 
slow progress during the ensuing years of peace. 
In 1940 and 1941 the impact of the expanding 
defense program upon the supply of raw mate- 
rials and the production of finished items em- 
phasized anew the wisdom of consolidating and 

co-ordinating the procurement of supplies. This 
objective was promoted by the work of the Pro- 
curement Assignment Board in the Office of 
the Under Secretary of War (later in the Pur- 
chases Division. SOS), which reviewed items 
and assigned purchase responsibility- to the ap- 
propriate supply service. 

In the summer of 1941 the board was directed 
to make a comprehensive study of the alloca- 
tion and procurement of supply items for the 
entire Army. At the request of the board, the 
QMC furnished a report suggesting the as- 
signment to it of eighteen items of clothing, 
textiles, equipment, and general supplies. 82 The 
OQMG itself undertook a study of the conflicts 
existing between the Corps and other supply 
arms, sen-ices, and defense agencies. The Quar- 
termaster General was convinced that central- 
ized purchase was imperative for those items for 
which productive capacity was inadequate. In 
the face of growing shortages of critical mate- 
rials and keen competition for them, co-ordina- 
tion and orderliness of procurement was "almost 
nonexistent." The consolidation of procure- 
ments wherever possible and the co-ordination 
of procurements in all other cases would, he 
urged, "result in a steady flow of these essential 
materials in an amount sufficient to fill our 

- I Memo. TQMG for ASW. 29 Aug 40. sub: 
Ltrs of Intent, and 1st ind. OASW to TQMG. 30 Aug 

40, on same. 161. (2) Ltr, TQMG to Julius H. Am- 
berg. Special Asst to SW, 25 Jun 41. sub: Senate In- 
%-estigation— Progress of Program to Date, 333.9. 

" Ltr. TQMG to OASW, 31 Oct 40. sub: Weekly 
Progress Rpt. 319.1. 

80 ( 1 ) Lt Col Paul P. Logan. OQMG, to CG 
CQMD. 18 Feb 42. sub: Contract for Dehydrated 
Onions. (2) Col Logan to same. 9 Apr 42, sub: Con- 
tract for Dehydrated Carrots. 161. (3) Ltr, Lt Col E. 
H. Foley. Jr..' OQMG, to Legal Br. Purchases Div. 
ASF. 2" May 43. sub: Ltrs of Intent, Ltr Orders, and 
Termination, 164. 

81 OQMG OO 30-49, 25 Sep 44, sub: Discontinu- 
ance of Ltrs of Intent and Ltr Orders. 

62 ( 1 ; Memo, Chairman of PAB for TQMG, 8 Aug 

41. sub: Asgmt of Items of Sup and Equip. (2) Ltr, 
TQMG to USW, 26 Aug 41, same sub. Both in 



needs." 8} Shoes, cotton duck, webbing, textiles, 
rope, paper (other than technical), hand tools, 
hardware fittings and findings for equipage, and 
kitchen appliances were among the items The 
Quartermaster General recommended for cen- 
tralized procurement by one agency on requisi- 
tions from all using agencies. 

Consolidation of procurement progressed 
slowly. It was in late December 1941 that the 
Procurement Assignment Board directed that 
the purchase of all canvas, duck, and webbing 
for the entire War Department be accomplished 
by the QMC. 84 In January procurement of 
paper and paper products was centralized in the 
Corps. The board recommended co-ordination 
rather than consolidation for the other items 
proposed for centralized procurement. By mid- 
1942 the trend toward consolidation, while not 
remarkable, was well defined. When the war 
ended, the number of items for which the Corps 
had central procurement responsibility for the 
War Department agencies totaled several 
thousand. 85 

Of all the items assigned to the QMC, the 
centralized procurement and distribution of cot- 
ton duck and webbing, as carried out by the 
QMC Duck and Webbing Pool, offered a war- 
time experiment that was unique in its con- 
ception, operation, and control. There had been 
a duck shortage in every major war in which 
the United States had been engaged. Recalling 
the experience of World War I when demand 
had far outstripped the ability of industry to 
produce, the QMC had collaborated closely in 
1939 and 1940 with various carpet and plush 
manufacturers who could convert their facilities